AHTCC’s State Spotlight showcases the Housing Credit’s impact in states across the country—and how public-private partnerships made possible by the Housing Credit lead to truly exceptional affordable housing communities.
The transformation of Waterman Gardens from a 1940s-era public housing development into a modern, sustainable, mixed-income housing community is at the center of the revitalization of a San Bernardino, California neighborhood.
National Community Renaissance, the City of San Bernardino and the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino recently broke ground on the first phase of the $200 million redevelopment. Adjacent to the current Waterman Gardens site, the initial stage will provide 75 new, affordable apartments for families earning between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income, or $60,700 for a family of four. Eventually, all 252 existing apartments will be replaced, and market-rate and senior apartments, along with community facilities, will be added to create a mixed-income, thriving community. In all, the revitalization will include more than 450 homes in this once-blighted neighborhood.
A number of public and private organizations came together to fund the development. A $25 million funding package for the first phase came from the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino, HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program and a HUD 221d4 permanent loan from PNC Real Estate. The City of San Bernardino also invested $2.3 million in HOME funds. Last but certainly not least, the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee awarded the development $11 million in Housing Credits, which will generate a capital contribution of $12 million from Wells Fargo Bank as the tax credit investor limited partner.
Thanks to a dedicated development team and a diverse group of funders, residents of Waterman Gardens will enjoy affordable homes, a thriving community, and amenities like a community center, meeting rooms, after-school program facilities, a swimming pool and a computer lab.
The Housing Credit was a key piece of the funding puzzle; without it, the redevelopment of Waterman Gardens simply would not have been possible. Since its creation in 1986, the Housing Credit has helped create thousands of communities like this one, boosting local economies along the way. In California alone, it has produced more than 300,000 homes and 340,000 jobs. At the same time, it has generated more than $32.3 billion in local income and more than $12.7 billion in tax revenues that have been reinvested into California’s communities.
The Housing Credit could not be more necessary in California, where rents are rising and the supply of affordable homes is dwarfed by the number of families who need them. A 2014 study found that the state has an affordable housing supply gap of nearly one million homes. In San Bernardino County, there are just 18 units affordable and available for every 100 extremely low-income renters.
As the number of families who need affordable housing options continues to grow in California and nationwide, we should work to make housing development a top priority for federal, state and local governments. Stable housing has benefits that extend past shelter—high-quality housing has been proven to improve residents’ health, education outcomes and economic prospects. By starting with housing, California can continue to revitalize whole communities like Waterman Gardens. And by supporting the Housing Credit, we can keep housing affordable for the long term.