37 Affordable Apartment Homes with Supportive Services Open in Ukiah
Rural Communities Housing Development Corporation held a grand opening for Willow Terrace Apartments, offering permanent supportive housing for low-income individuals with mental illness
Thanks to a committed collaboration among nonprofits, local government and private funders, 37 people with mental illness who were formerly homeless or at risk will live in a new community that will offer tailored mental health services.
On Friday April 19th 2019, Rural Communities Housing Development Corporation (RCHDC) held the ribbon cutting for the Willow Terrace housing development, located at 237 E. Gobbi Street in Ukiah. Because this new community will serve people with serious mental illness, it will provide not just housing but also wrap-around supportive services tailored to the individual needs of each resident.
“Willow Terrace will significantly improve the lives of some of our community’s most vulnerable people,” said RCHDC CEO Brad McDonald. “This development shows that with the right partners, it’s possible to create better opportunities for people who have often had very few.”
Realizing this project meant bringing together multiple financing sources and responding to community concerns. In 2015, the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency selected RCHDC to develop affordable housing for this population. Since then, RCHDC had been collaborating with funders and service providers to leverage $1.3 million in seed money from the California Mental Health Services Act to build this $12 million project. The project includes a $3.6 million reserve, funded by Housing Credit equity, to ensure 20-year financial viability.
Eighteen months ago, RCHDC was awarded nearly $9 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (Housing Credits), the federal program that supports the development of more than 90 percent of all affordable housing in the U.S. To ensure those funds produced quality, supportive homes, RCHDC chose to work closely with Enterprise Housing Credit Investments (Enterprise), the development’s primary investment partner. US Bank purchased the California State Low Income Housing Tax Credits.
RCHDC also used the construction period to demonstrate that providing homes and supportive services not only improves the lives of residents, it saves the community money. Those with mental health needs are less likely to require expensive resources like law enforcement, emergency first responders, and hospital emergency care if they receive proper treatment. Willow Terrace will provide wrap-around services for its residents through the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) and other providers, a compassionate and an economically sound approach.
"Willow Terrace helps fulfill a critical need by providing housing and services for people who are mentally ill and homeless or at risk of becoming homeless" said Mendocino County Supervisor John McCowen. "This project is a great example of RCHDC working with multiple state and local partners to complete a project that will dramatically improve outcomes not only for the individuals being housed but also for the general community."
Willow Terrace consists of 26 single-room occupancy units and 11 one-bedroom units, as well as one three-bedroom manager’s unit. All are in a two-story, “L”-shaped building, and each of the ground floor apartments are ADA-accessible or adaptable. The property also has a community building with a large meeting room with a full-service kitchen available to all residents, three offices for service providers, ADA community bathrooms and laundry facilities.
Willow Terrace is designed to be an all-electric, net zero energy project. A wide array of photovoltaic panels are found throughout the site, and these panels will provide energy to the residential units as well as the common areas.
The two buildings share a courtyard that will be the focal point for gathering and creating a sense of community among residents. This design balances the desire to integrate every resident into the Willow Terrace community with each person’s need for privacy. Willow Terrace is located near HHSA and Redwood Community Services, making it easier for residents to receive services.
“We were excited to support an organization with RCHDC’s commitment and experience to serving low-income people, including those with mental illness, in rural and smaller communities,” said Philip Porter, vice president, Enterprise. “Developments like Willow Terrace are crucial to both providing residents with greater opportunities and enabling communities to use public dollars wisely.”
Though it had to overcome several financial and political hurdles, Willow Terrace may serve as a model for other communities. RCHDC has two similar projects now in pre-development.
Pacific Builders was the construction company and RCHDC will manage the property.
RCHDC's mission is to provide decent and affordable housing to low and moderate income persons. Learn more at rchdc.org.
Enterprise is a proven and powerful nonprofit that improves communities and people’s lives by making well-designed homes affordable. We bring together the nationwide know-how, partners, policy leadership and investments to multiply the impact of local affordable housing development. Over 35 years, Enterprise has created nearly 585,000 homes, invested $43.6 billion and touched millions of lives. Join us at www.EnterpriseCommunity.org.
Rural Communities Housing Development Corporations Chief Executive Officer Brad McDonald speaking about this wonderful addition to our community.