Irvine, CA – Jamboree Housing Corporation, a leading developer of affordable housing in California, today announced the completed renovation of the Grove Park Apartments in the Buena Clinton neighborhood of Garden Grove, California. This most recent effort is part of an overall redevelopment plan reflecting the City’s ongoing commitment to improve the communities of its residents.
This is much more than the story of a refurbished apartment community. Instead, it is one more step in the long- term reclamation of an entire neighborhood. Although Jamboree’s work on Grove Park was begun within the past year, the Buena Clinton legacy dates back to the 1980s when it was one of the most troubled neighborhoods in Orange County.
Buena Clinton began as a residential apartment neighborhood in the early 1960s, but poor design, inferior building materials and regular changes in property ownership conspired to doom it from the start. By the 1980s, overcrowding, increasingly uninhabitable structures and a high rate of unemployment among residents resulted in Buena Clinton having the highest concentration of families living below the poverty level in Garden Grove.
The community was also plagued with high rates of crime.
In 1985 alone, police responded to more than 1,600 calls for service, the most in the city. Responding officers were constantly forced to deal with gang activity, drug trafficking and prostitution. Abandoned vehicles lined the streets.
By the end of that decade, however, through the combined efforts of local government officials and residents, these trends began to change. City leaders drafted a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy, and developed a public/private partnership to acquire and rehabilitate the buildings. The reality of that commitment now spans 20 years and Jamboree has been an integral part of that since 1996.
Plus, the results of these cooperative efforts have been remarkable.
“Grove Park is a model for what can be achieved when a city makes a bold commitment to the future of its residents,” says Laura Archuleta, president of Jamboree, one of California’s largest active affordable housing developers. “This redevelopment partnership works because the City of Garden Grove and Jamboree share the same mission and goals: to provide stable, affordable housing to residents, with services that build community and a sense of community ownership.”
“We never gave up on Buena Clinton,” says William J. Dalton, Mayor of Garden Grove. “Any change of this magnitude takes a good deal of consistency and patience. We truly value Jamboree’s role in this process. We look forward to more opportunities to partner with them in the future.”
It’s a future that looks quite promising.
Last March, the California Park and Recreation Society presented the City of Garden Grove with the organization’s 2010 Award of Excellence in Facility Design for the new two-story, 6,600-square-foot Buena Clinton Youth & Family Center. In the first year alone, community involvement includes a parent advisory committee, parent volunteers, and parent education classes. A strong safety component includes neighborhood outreach meetings with local police, car seat safety, identify theft protection, and renter's rights.
During the renovation, Jamboree’s Resident Services Group, Housing with HEART, met with the City to assess where gaps in services at the new center existed and how Jamboree could partner with the City to bridge such gaps to provide a comprehensive repertoire of services offered to Buena Clinton residents. Vietnamese families in the neighborhood were not accessing the services and new opportunities to reach out to Vietnamese seniors were identified.
Housing with HEART responded and this year, Jamboree’s onsite program coordinator – who is fluent in Vietnamese – is promoting existing programs and launching new services that include translating documents as well as conversations between residents and property managers to build neighborhood rapport, referrals to local social service and medical providers, and regular community gatherings and social events. Core to its value of promoting healthy living, Jamboree is also initiating a weekly health and fitness program for all Grove Park residents.
“In line with our commitment to be an extension of the City staff, we brought all of our expertise to the table – everything from the negotiations for the various properties, assembling the layers of financing required, the rehabilitation of existing buildings, and providing resident services that are responsive to the needs of the community,” says Vicky Ramirez, Jamboree’s senior project manager.
Financing was accomplished through a public/private partnership including the City of Garden Grove, the Garden Grove Housing Authority and Union Bank. Stimulus funds were also accessed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Grove Park is an existing 104-unit apartment community comprised of 13 eight-plexes, and is the fourth property Jamboree owns and operates in Garden Grove, bringing the total number to 162 homes. The other properties include Rose Crest, Briar Crest, and Sunswept Apartment Homes.
Extensive interior renovations include new paint, window coverings, linoleum and carpeting; bathrooms and kitchens have new plumbing fixtures, counter tops and cabinets, new kitchen appliances, new windows, electrical upgrades to accommodate new air conditioning service, new light fixtures and smoke detectors. Exterior renovations include stucco repairs and new paint, asphalt repairs in parking areas, new landscape and upgrades to the irrigation system.
The rehabilitation of Grove Park also includes a variety of green features such as natural linoleum in all kitchens and bathrooms (without VOC adhesives), CRI Green Label carpet, materials for cabinets, countertops, and shelving that is free of padded formaldehyde, and all wall, ceiling and floor penetrations are sealed with laminates and/or a low VOC primer or sealant.
Gala Construction served as general contractor for the Grove Park renovation, and The John Stewart Company will provide onsite property management.
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. Housing with HEART and HOMES Inc. are 501(c)(3) organizations and comprise Jamboree’s resident services group. A leading nonprofit developer, Jamboree is committed to sustaining excellence with high quality affordable housing that is good for the environment, the economy and local communities. It currently has about $250 million in affordable housing projects in its development pipeline and a $1 billion asset portfolio that includes the development of and/or ownership interest in 6,700 homes in more than 66 California communities. Currently, Housing with HEART programs and services that foster learning, health and community building are offered at 38 Jamboree communities with designated staff at each location. For more information, go to www.jamboreehousing.com.