CARLSBAD — A controversial development got the green light despite pleas from residents in the Barrio neighborhood.
The Windsor Pointe project is a 50-unit development under the county’s “No Place Like Home” program and will house homeless veterans and people with severe mental illness, which has caused a backlash from residents.
The units will be constructed at 3606-3618 and 3630 Harding Street and 965-967 Oak Avenue.
Councilwoman Cori Schumacher abstained from the vote after stating her opposition to the project for using restricted funds dedicated to veterans housing during the May 5 City Council meeting. The city has committed $8.3 million, while the developer, Affirmed Housing, has secured all the funds it needs for the $33.1 million project.
“The residents are furious,” said Denis Jensen, who is part of a neighborhood group pushing back against the development. “We laid out our concerns several times. It’s a total bait and switch.”
Residents are steamed over the change in the funding of the program, which was initially allocated specifically for homeless and low-income veterans. Also, the program allows for addicts, SMI, and “seriously disturbed youth” without background checks.
According to the program, the program must accept tenants regardless of sobriety, participation in services or history of incarceration. Jensen said the project cannot specifically target only Carlsbad residents as it would violate the Fair Housing Act.
Jensen said residents fear for the safety of children, many of whom attend nearby Jefferson Elementary School.
However, Affirmed Housing has said it will conduct reviews and oversight of those residents.
During the council’s April 21 meeting, Schumacher raised the issue of veterans restrictions with the No Place Like Home program.
“Back in 2017, the City Council explicitly restricted the funds to homeless veterans and lower-income veteran families,” she said. “At some point, those funds were used in an application for the No Place Like Home program, which explicitly, clearly says you can’t have restrictions around veterans housing.”
After the Feb. 25 City Council meeting, several residents said they were considering legal action against the city; although Jensen said his group, Carlsbad Against Windsor Pointe, is considering all options.
“We’re going to fight this tooth and nail,” he added.
In addition, Affirmed Housing will also demolish five residences and relocate those tenants at an estimated cost of $316,000 for moving. Overland, Pacific and Cutler was retained by Affirmed Housing and tasked with finding tenants comparable housing.
The benefits include moving expenses, months of rental assistance or those tenants can rollover their rental assistance into a down payment to purchase a home, according to David de Cordova, the city’s housing services manager.
Affirmed Housing attempted to secure additional funding through a number of other sources, federal, state and county, with only the county approving funds in the amount of $10.1 million, de Cordova said during the Jan. 28 meeting. The developer also has a pending application through the state for a 4% tax credit, which would total $14.2 million.