Senior housing project receives funding
It was a close call, but the funding to build a 49-unit senior housing project on West Sycamore Street has been approved.
The California Department of Housing and Community Development, who administers the federal HOME Program, approved the $4.5 million loan to Pacific Companies last week after city officials went to bat for the project.
City officials were armed with the recently completed senior housing needs assessment, a collaboration between Glenn County and Glenn Communities Working Together .
"They were ready to say no," said Karen Mantele, a Willows planning contractor.
Mantele said the loan committee had planned to reject the application when Willows City Manager Steve Holsinger brought the assessment study — which was completed in November — to their attention.
The Willows City Council authorized Pacific Companies' federal HOME Program loan application in June, but city officials weren't optimistic then that Willows would score high enough to nab one of only 10 to 12 projects in the state awarded in this funding cycle.
The loans are approved on a point system, officials said, and Pacific Companies had applied for four of the projects, including one for Williams.
"The company has a very high success rate," Mantele said.
A citizens group has advocated for affordable senior housing for nearly six years because older Willows residents have been forced to move to Orland or Chico, where low-income senior housing is available.
According to the study, Willows had the greatest need in the county of at least 42 — 48 units to keep pace with the aging population over the next five years.
About 20 percent of Willows' population is over 60.
Pacific Companies proposes to build two two-story apartment buildings at the corner of Sycamore and Humboldt streets, which will be available to seniors ages 55 and up whose incomes are 30 to 50 percent the area's median income of $43,000.
The complex will include a club house, swimming pool, spa and laundry facilities.
"They hope to break ground in the fall," Mantele said.
The Willows Planning Commission, who approved the design in July, said they plan to be there at the first turn of dirt.
"We want golden shovels," said Commissioner Amy Alves.
City officials said former Councilmen Vince Holvik and Gary Hansen worked very hard to get affordable senior housing in Willows, but the work doesn't stop there.
The paperwork comes next, and Mantele said she will have to make sure to cross all the t's and dot all the i's.
The city will receive $100,000 to administer the loan program.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.