Wednesday deadline for Sonoma affordable housing
Architectural rendering of the Valley Oaks Home affordable housing complex.
Valley residents looking for affordable housing in the City of Sonoma have until Wednesday, Oct. 31, to apply for one of the 43 units available at Valley Oaks Home. Located at 875 Lyon St., the green-building complex will be completed by January, and ready for residents come February.
“Applications must be postmarked no later than Wednesday,” said Erika Fairchild, leasing coordinator for the Berkeley-based nonprofit Affordable Housing Associates (AHA), which oversees the development. From there, it comes down to the luck of the draw.
“We enter all the applicants into a random lottery system,” she explained.
It’s a lottery dozens of Sonoma families are hoping to win. A search on Craigslist.com’s rental listings for Sonoma shows that one bedroom apartments start around $1,000, while three bedrooms fetch as much as $2,500 a month. At Valley Oaks, rents range from $425 for a one-bedroom to $1,064 for a three-bedroom, based on a family’s combined income. Tenants must earn between 30 and 50 percent of the average median income for Sonoma County.
The complex features green upgrades such as solar panels, which will not only run the complex but also keep energy costs down for residents. Permeable pavement was used to better absorb water and avoid run-off into storm drains, while water recycled from the kitchen and laundry facility will be put into irrigation.
The $17.5 million project was requested by the City of Sonoma, which sought proposals in 2008. The city donated the land, valued at $2.5 million; and also contributed $2 million in redevelopment agency funds shortly before the state collapsed all of the agencies.
“The payment was made early enough in 2011 to be an enforceable commitment. Fortunately, those funds were safe,” said Eve Stewart, director of housing development for AHA.
The county kicked in another $400,000, but Stewart said the bulk of the financing, $10.4 million, came from the Internal Revenue Service’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.
AHA will manage the property. Applications and more information can be found at ahainc.org or by calling 758-0426.