Solving CA’s Affordable Housing Crisis One Church Parking Lot at a Time

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What happens when a 141-yr-old church, an Orange County, CA city, and a California nonprofit creatively transform a vacant church parking lot into a vibrant community asset that's helping to address one of the most pressing housing needs for Southern Californians? See how Wesley Village is changing the lives of 48 families and seniors, and how it could serve as a model for cities across the country.

Main entrance of Wesley Village: Jamboree, United Methodist Church of Garden Grove and partners, new multigenerational affordable housing on excess church land for families and seniors.

Jamboree, the United Methodist Church of Garden Grove and partners, open Wesley Village new multigenerational affordable housing on excess church land in California.

We believe Wesley Village will serve as a model for other developers and local governments to partner with institutions such as churches and schools to help fill the affordable housing gap.

Jamboree Housing Corporation and the Garden Grove United Methodist Church – in partnership with the City of Garden Grove –announced the grand opening of Wesley Village. This pioneering, multi-use urban campus includes multigenerational affordable housing as well as educational, social and health services programming available to residents and the larger community.

A public/private venture, the adaptive reuse campus was developed on 2.2 acres of the church’s excess parking space and vacant land. Together, these create the urban site for two three-story multifamily buildings that include 47 affordable apartments for 31 working families and 16 senior households with rents ranging from 50 percent to 59 percent of area median income (AMI). To secure the development site, Jamboree entered a 60-year ground lease with the church that will provide ongoing financial support for the church's charitable activities.

In addition to the two three-story residential buildings, the redesigned church campus includes a third building that houses an Orange County Head Start Learning Center. Local community service providers with offices inside the family building’s community rooms include: Alzheimer's Orange County, Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove, Lestonnac Free Clinic and Project Hope Alliance. These agencies provide adult day care, behavioral health services and after-school activities, plus a range of other social, education and health services available to residents and the surrounding community. Jamboree’s Community Impact Group serves as the catalyst and facilitator for this community collaboration.

Jamboree’s partners at the City of Garden Grove are excited to see the ongoing results of this very unique and creative community alliance. By combining the strengths and resources of three different entities that share a progressive vision for the community, city leaders believe they have achieved something especially meaningful and beneficial for their community.

Wesley Village features approximately 10,000 square feet of active open space, including a podium deck courtyard that is part of the family apartment building, a community center with management offices, health clinic, computer center, library, and multipurpose rooms accessible to local community service providers. Outdoor amenities feature barbecue/dining areas, tot lot, fitness areas, and landscaped community spaces for outdoor recreation.

“One of the United Methodist Church’s fundamental principles is that we have a responsibility to innovate, sponsor and evaluate new forms of community that will encourage development of individuals and families to reach their fullest potential,” said Reverend Dr. Bau Dang, pastor of the Garden Grove United Methodist Church. “We see Wesley Village, named after the founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley, as a way our church in concert with the City of Garden Grove and Jamboree is providing land for the creation of a new community that will strengthen the lives of people and promote their health and well-being.”

Laura Archuleta, Jamboree president, said that developers of affordable housing today are faced with challenges of securing building sites and funding for affordable housing developments in Orange County and throughout California.

“This innovative collaboration underscores the need for both more creative thinking and the value of public/private partnerships to meet the growing demand for quality affordable housing,” she said. “We believe Wesley Village will serve as a model for other developers and local governments to partner with institutions such as churches and schools to help fill the affordable housing gap.”

Archuleta pointed out that Wesley Village creates not only quality affordable housing for families and seniors, but is a platform to expand critically needed community services such as Head Start that will benefit the surrounding neighborhood and residents.

The multigenerational property also represents a major step aimed at improving the overall health and well-being of a community through Jamboree’s Community Impact Initiative. In Jamboree’s experience, affordable housing provided with services for a variety of residents –from working families to seniors – can make a significant difference to residents by offering quality physical and mental health services, improving educational outcomes, enhancing social bonds, and a feeling of camaraderie and security within the community.

In Jamboree's ongoing commitment to sustainability, Wesley Village is designed to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) for Homes Gold rating and to exceed California’s Title 24 CalGreen energy efficiency standard by at least 17 percent. This certification lowers energy consumption, providing a cost-saving benefit to and promotes the health of residents.

Financing for the $18.9-million development consists of $3.6 million in HOME Funds provided by the City of Garden Grove through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and a Housing Authority Loan; $4.8 million in permanent financing from the California Community Reinvestment Corporation; $7.449 million tax credit equity invested by Boston Financial Investment Management; $460,000 in Affordable Housing Program (AHP) permanent financing from Federal Home Loan Bank, and $11.1 million in construction financing provided by U.S. Bank. Garden Grove United Methodist Church is the ground lessor.

ABOUT JAMBOREE: Founded in 1990, Irvine, CA-headquartered Jamboree Housing Corporation is an award-winning, broad-based nonprofit housing development company that develops, acquires, renovates and manages permanently affordable rental and ownership housing throughout California for working families, seniors and people with special needs.

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Lorraine O'Keefe
ThinkinBig Communications
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