National Community Renaissance

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 06/16/14, 10:34 PM PDT | Updated: 1 min ago

SAN BERNARDINO >> The nonprofit group behind the Waterman Gardens Affordable Housing Project will build 75 affordable units at Ninth Street and Valencia Avenue, replacing that number of low-income apartments at Waterman Gardens with ones sold at market rate.

The switch follows a 6-1 vote at Monday’s City Council meeting, with Councilman John Valdivia opposing the plan.

The same vote breakdown came later in the same meeting, when the group — Rancho Cucamonga-based National CORE — was granted $1.5 million of uncommitted Home Investment Partnership funds, leaving the city only $4,000 of those funds.

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is designed to create affordable housing for low-income households.

That means it can’t be used for the city’s general fund — to shore up police, firefighting, parks or libraries, for instance — but it could have been used for community rehabilitation, encouraging first-time purchases, mobile home renovation and other programs related to that goal, said Brandon Mims, the city’s deputy housing director.

The money could better be spent on other projects, Valdivia said, suggesting that National CORE “has a good story” that should be able to convince private investors, rather than taxpayers, to fund them.

Resident Scott Olson emphasized the point later.

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