IRVINE, CA – Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Jamboree Housing Corporation is on the edge of a new horizon for development with a focus on advancing the health of both its residents and the communities in which its affordable housing properties are located, according to Laura Archuleta, president of Jamboree. The nonprofit’s mission moving forward is to use its developments as a platform to improve the health and well-being of its residents as well as others in lower income brackets who live in surrounding neighborhoods.
Archuleta, who has led the Irvine, CA-headquartered company since 1999, says that Jamboree’s primary work since its inception in 1990 has been the development of affordable and workforce housing for families, seniors, and those with special needs, “We have historically focused our health and wellness programs on our own residents. Now, as part of our effort to advance healthy living, these life enhancement programs will greatly benefit our residents as well as the community as a whole,” Archuleta explains. “With this community mission, we are committed to expanding our social, education and health services programs provided by our Resident Services Group to the larger communities in which our properties are located and in which we are building.”
Studies by such organizations as Children’s HealthWatch underscore that quality affordable housing – along with resident programs – can be a powerful remedy for many of the social, physical and psychological ills we see in children who live in lower income families and neighborhoods, Archuleta notes.
“Quality affordable housing coupled with life enhancement services offer an improved and healthier lifestyle, which in turn reduces stress and tension in the family, which means a more relaxed and enjoyable life, especially for children in the household,” she explains. “We have many positives to offer a community beyond our own properties and we want to share our programs and services with people who will benefit from them.”
While California’s affordable housing developers found the last three years a challenge with the loss of redevelopment funding in early 2012, Archuleta says Jamboree continued to build through the recession. Statewide, Jamboree currently has $233 million in affordable housing properties in its development pipeline and a $1 billion asset portfolio that includes the development of and/or ownership interest in more than 7,400 homes in more than 75 California communities.
Looking to future development, Archuleta points out that while securing land continues to be an issue, Jamboree has 11 new or rehab projects in its pipeline and several other projects on the horizon. With the availability of more funds based on new federal and state financing resources, local governments are now eager to move ahead with critically needed affordable housing development previously delayed with the loss of redevelopment. One such source is the state’s new cap-and-trade program that will generate $130 million for affordable housing and sustainable community development this year, with more funds coming in future years.
“We are fortunate to have been able to continue with our development program even with the loss of redevelopment funding, thanks largely to the strong relationships that we have with out public and private sector partners,” Archuleta says. “These relationships coupled with the fact that cities in particular did have some funding for affordable housing even after redevelopment ceased to exist, got us through the last few, very tough years. With the availability of new funding sources such as cap-and-trade and the Prop 41 Veterans and Homeless Prevention bond funds we are now positioned to grow our project pipeline to what we believe will be a new record of building activity in 2015 and 2016.”
Jamboree is also increasing its pursuit of new types of development models, including mixed-income and mixed-use projects as well as innovative approaches to land acquisition such as site sharing with churches and educational facilities. One new project in Orange County is a joint venture with a local church that has additional land which Jamboree would lease from the church to build intergenerational affordable housing combined with a Head Start program and day care facility. Another new project, also in Orange County, is designed as mixed-use that would include a job training commercial venture such as a restaurant.
Along with new product types, Archuleta says Jamboree will continue to improve the energy efficiency of its new and existing properties and build to the highest possible levels of sustainability. “Whenever possible, our properties will be built for optimum energy efficiency and sustainability well above most state-mandated requirements,” she underscores.
*Cap-and-trade is a new California law designed to generate funding for reduction of greenhouse gas by funding development of affordable housing and sustainable communities, along with promoting “active transportation,” e.g. walking and biking, and local planning that advances infill development and reduces the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT). The first tranche of $130 million in funding for affordable housing and sustainable communities has been allocated by the California Strategic Growth Council for use this year.
Six of the company’s new communities are designed to be Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design for Homes (LEED) certified including two that are LEED for Homes Platinum, the highest LEED rating. The LEED Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings.
To expand its development pipeline and effectively manage the company’s growth, Archuleta says Jamboree added new management staff and is diversifying operations in 2015 so the company will not rely solely on income from housing development. One of these moves is to expand the services of its general contracting group, Quality Development and Construction, Inc., that will oversee construction of Jamboree’s new projects.
“Our goal is to establish a diversity of revenue sources such as general construction – and perhaps property management and financial services while evolving our mission,” Archuleta explains. “With more diverse income streams in place, we are better able to ensure the quality of our management and operations and pursue the new development and services programs that are part of our longer term strategic plan.”
Video clip of Laura Archuleta on New Approaches, Partners & Funding for Jamboree in 2015.