Mutual Housing California Acquisition Will Help Build Sacramento’s First LGBTQ-Welcoming Senior Apartment Community

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There is a great need for affordable senior homes in Sacramento’s mid-town neighborhood, where some of the nation’s highest rent increases have occurred in recent years.

Members of the local LGBTQ community reached out to Mutual Housing California about developing homes for senior members of their community. They’d found other senior communities or senior living environments not always welcoming, and some experienced overt discrimination.

“People feel like, even if they’ve been out a good part of their adult lives, they’re not safe in conventional senior living. With Lavender Courtyard, in their senior years, they can live as their authentic selves and have a safe, supportive community,” said Holly Wunder Stiles, Director of Housing Development, Mutual Housing California.

The groups met and found the perfect location, a previously long-vacant site on a main road in mid-town, where many LGBTQ people live and have businesses.

Mutual Housing reached out to NeighborWorks Capital for help in acquiring the property, after working together on two previous acquisitions.

“We need to be able to move quickly on a site like this. We knew NeighborWorks Capital can respond and close quickly. They’re willing to take the acquisition risk, which contributes to the success of the project and our ability to acquire property at a reasonable cost,” Wunder Stiles said.

The development, Lavender Courtyard, will be 53 newly constructed affordable apartments for very-low-income seniors (20% to 40% AMI). The project is supported by a $2.5 million grant from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, which is invested in a new model to provide homes for seniors. Supportive services will be provided by Lutheran Social Services of Northern California. Despite the disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic, they have will maintain the original construction timeline, despite price increases as they finalized their construction contract.

Construction began the first week of October, and Mutual Housing held a virtual groundbreaking that included NeighborWorks Capital’s Chief Lending Officer Stephen Peelor.

Recent view of Lavender Courtyard construction.

Additionally, NeighborWorks Capital supports Mutual Housing’s growth through a $1 million predevelopment line of credit to support its development pipeline, including expenses to get Lavender Courtyard to the start of construction. Mutual Housing’s goal is to double its housing portfolio in the next seven years – an addition of 1,000 apartments.

“This is the first time we’ve started construction on two projects in the same year. It’s part of our commitment to and implementation of our growth strategy,” Wunder Stiles said.

The other project is aptly named Adelante, a Mutual Housing Community, as “adelante” is a Spanish word of action meaning to move forward, onward, and to keep it up. This Davis, CA, property was donated by a market-rate developer that Mutual Housing is developing into 38 affordable apartments. Sixteen apartments will be for homeless families and transitional-age youth. Construction also began in October, and they have three other projects in their pipeline for 2021.

In 2010, NeighborWorks Capital helped Mutual Housing acquire property in Woodland, where two phases of Mutual Housing at Spring Lake have completed. Both are zero-net energy, sustainable developments, LEED Platinum-certified, and Mutual Housing has been lauded for its sustainable development accomplishments, including increasing GreenPoint Ratings.

In 2017, Mutual Housing won the prestigious World Habitat Award. “Through that, we’ve been participating in international discussions about affordable housing, sustainable development, and community development,” Wunder Stiles said.

About Mutual Housing California

Mutual Housing California develops, operates, and advocates for affordable and sustainable housing and builds strong communities through resident participation and leadership development. The organization provides homes and resident leadership opportunities to more than 3,200 individuals and families and employs 71 full-time employees. It is an accomplished sustainable developer, with several awards for its green development activities.

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