Long Beach, CA – Jamboree Housing Corporation, along with a crowd of more than 80 supporters – including City of Long Beach officials – celebrated the grand opening of Puerto del Sol Apartment Homes. In Jamboree’s rigorous commitment to innovative design and planning solutions, Puerto del Sol is a 64- unit affordable housing community for working families in the West Gateway area located within the city’s downtown revitalized core.
“Today is a reality because of a tremendous amount of effort, collaboration and, most importantly, partnership,” explained Michael Massie, Housing Development Manager for Jamboree. “Each partnership – with the city, our construction team and lenders – was essential in creating the outstanding community that is now home to many residents and their families.”
Puerto del Sol features two-, three-, and four-bedroom one- and two-story apartment homes and flats for families who earn between 40% and 50% of the area median income. For example, a family of four earning $37,900 (50% of area median income) will pay $633/month in rent.
“There is no better testament to the vision of Puerto del Sol than its debut during the city of Long Beach’s Affordable Housing Week,” noted Massie. “This is what quality affordable housing is all about – providing opportunity for hardworking people who are integral to this community to live and work in and have their children attend school in the same city.” He noted that the property leased up in less than a week and that 208 residents call Puerto del Sol home – 68% moved here from within the city. Nearly 30% of the residents work right in Long Beach. It’s the city’s second annual Affordable Housing Week to raise awareness of the need for quality affordable housing and communicate progress towards all residents having a safe, decent place to call home.
Embodying principles of smart growth, the City of Long Beach pursued a unique public/private partnership to develop the transit-oriented urban neighborhood of West Gateway on approximately eight square blocks within the city’s downtown core. The Long Beach Housing Development Company (LBHDC) and the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency (RDA) identified blighted land and determined its redevelopment use in the West Gateway Redevelopment Project Area.
The land was previously occupied by 13 lessee households. RDA provided extensive relocation assistance for residents. In addition, historic houses previously located on the site were moved to the Willmore Historic Area as part of the Redevelopment Plan. For its part, in addition to participating in community meetings and development of the property and residents services, Jamboree leveraged $11.8 million from the LBHDC and $13 million from the city of Long Beach to fund the $26.4 million property.
On behalf of City of Long Beach Mayor, Bob Foster, Vice Mayor Bonnie Lowenthal presented a proclamation to Patrick Brown, Chairman of The Long Beach Housing Development Company, commending the LBHDC on its commitment to affordable housing. According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, a person earning minimum wage in Los Angeles County would need to work 125 hours per week for 52 weeks each year in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment. “Thanks to Puerto del Sol, residents will not have to choose between food, gas and rent,” stated Vice Mayor Bonnie Lowenthal.
“Puerto del Sol and the entire Long Beach Redevelopment Plan is an exciting example of a project to remove blight from our great city and create new growth for its future,” continued Lowenthal. “Every time city officials pass this property, we brag about the beauty of the building and the wonderful representation of what true partnership and passion can provide for our citizens.”
With a commitment to innovative design and planning solutions, Jamboree’s overall exterior property design creates a sense of multiple family homes rather than one large uniform structure. The unique design is complemented by the property’s location. As an integral part of the West Gateway development, Puerto del Sol is within walking distance to local medical and community services, shopping and schools – including one of the city’s newest elementary schools – as well as an area transit mall and Metro Blue Light station.
“Puerto del Sol is a success for three reasons: quality, partnership and resident services,” said Laura Archuleta, president of Jamboree. She emphasized that Jamboree conducted extensive community outreach to educate the surrounding neighborhood about the difference a well-built, maintained and managed stand-alone property can make. “We sought to enhance the area by removing blight for residents already in the community. Once here, we were pleased to develop a property in the heart of the community. Now, we will provide resident service programs and link residents with the city’s extensive network of community partners.”
In its commitment to strengthen communities by providing residents with opportunities to improve the quality of their life, Jamboree’s Housing with HEART (Helping, Educate, Activate and Respond Together) offers free, onsite resident services and programs tailored to meet the needs of residents and their families. These programs include activities such as homework assistance and tutoring for children and consumer credit counseling, ESL classes, financial literacy and pre-employment counseling for adults. In addition, Housing with HEART will provide residents with convenient and knowledgeable access to the city’s extensive and well- established network of community services and partnerships.
“The residents of communities like Puerto del Sol are our teachers and we, their students,” noted Cruz Avila, Resident Services Manager of Jamboree’s Housing with HEART. “They teach us what they need to succeed, and we learn how to provide the tools for their success.”
Sponsored by Wachovia and WaMu, Housing with HEART awards six scholarships annually to residents of its properties – two in each of three regions throughout the State. Sopana Sann, age 22, works full time and is a father of one. He attends college full time. As Puerto del Sol residents, both he and his wife are 2008 recipients of the Housing with HEART scholarship. He told the crowd, “As a young adult with a family, it’s hard to find a safe, decent place to live, learn how to manage money, pay bills, save for the future and have money to reinvest back into your community. Being at Puerto del Sol gives me and my family the chance to live in a great community where I don’t have to choose between rent, bills, gas or food.”
“Thank you for my new home,” added Patricia Wright. “As a formerly homeless woman and one of the property’s first residents, we have a great opportunity and responsibility to ourselves and others to be an example. I now have the things most people take for granted – a bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, refrigerator and a roof over my head. We are an example that life and people are willing to work with you when you least expect it, and we will live up to this opportunity.” Puerto del Sol Fact Sheet is available upon request.
About Jamboree: Founded in 1990, 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 for lower-income families and seniors throughout California. Housing with HEART (Helping Educate, Activate and Respond Together) is a 501 (c)(3) organization and a division of Jamboree Housing Corporation. A leading nonprofit developer, Jamboree’s portfolio includes the development of and/or ownership interest in more than 5,000 affordable rental apartment homes in more than 46 California communities. Currently, Housing with HEART programs and services are offered at 34 JHC communities with designated staff at each location. More information is available on the company’s Web site