The City of Riverside has agreed to use Measure Z funds to pay as much as $120,000 in fees to ease the way for the creation of four cottages at The Grove Community Church that will house homeless individuals and families.
Defined as an historic first that could be replicated around the city, the recent and unanimous approval of the project by the City Council has paved the way for the development of four cottages on the southwest corner of the property located at 19900 Grove Community Drive.
The program is slated to remain in place for at least five years and representatives of The Grove Community Church said they expected to continue the program beyond that required period to keep the housing available to people who need it. The church also accepted a $40,000 check from Rotary International District 5330 to help pay for the project, which will include substantial counseling services, substance abuse recovery programs, job training and other services provided.
Other partners in the project include Tilden-Coil Constructors, Rotary International, Habitat for Humanity, Champion Electric and the Riverside Unified School District STEM School.
“We’re so thankful for all the partners who have come along with us,” said Tom Lance, Senior Pastor at The Grove. “It hasn’t been easy, but it has been good.”
The project will provide opportunities for homeless and/or low-income individuals to utilize the village housing until they can stabilize their lives, then move into permanent housing elsewhere. The $120,000 in Measure Z funds set aside for reducing homelessness that would go into the project equate to $6,000 per unit per year. It is also possible the amount could be less than $120,000 if some agencies agree to waive their fees.
“This is the first, I think, of many projects like this across our city, this is an example of how it can be done and the partnerships that are necessary to make it happen,” said Councilmember Mike Gardner.
The project comes at a time when housing is more expensive than ever and harder than ever for many people to obtain. Only 29 percent of California households can afford the median-priced home in the state, and only 38 percent of Californians could afford the median-priced condominium or townhome. In Riverside County, there were 59,000 extremely low-income renter households, but only about 15,000 apartments to house them.
“I’m just so proud to be a part of this community, and this faith community,” said Mayor Rusty Bailey, who has championed the faith-based approach to providing housing for more than a year. “Our team has gone to great lengths to ensure that this village will not only meet the needs of our neighbors without homes but will also integrate successfully into the neighborhood.”