The Coast News Group
Home with a sign on front lawn
A home on Harding Street in Carlsbad is slated to become a homeless housing project, whose residents will include individuals with serious mental illness. The latest change in plans has numerous Barrio residents angry and protesting the project, several of whom voiced their concerns during the Feb. 25 City Council meeting. Photo by Steve Puterski
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Barrio residents upset about changes to low-income project

CARLSBAD — A number of Barrio residents came hard at the Carlsbad City Council during the Feb. 25 meeting regarding a change regarding an affordable housing project known as the Windsor Pointe Apartments.

During its Jan. 28 meeting, the council unanimously approved an additional $4 million-plus for the project, which is now slated to include serious mental illness (SMI) residents through the No Place Like Home program of the California Department of Housing and Community Development. The original plans by Affirmed Housing called for extremely low-income and homeless veterans in 48 units on 3606-3618 and 3630 Harding Street and 965-967 Oak Avenue.

The total cost is estimated at $33.1 million with the city contributing 25% of the funds, according to the Jan. 28 staff report.

However, the city’s commitment is dependent on Affirmed Housing securing its financial commitments with the county and other sources by Aug. 16, 2021.

“The city’s commitment could expire if Affirmed is unable to secure the balance of the funding for the project,” David de Cordova, Carlsbad’s principal planner, said.

Residents Christie Ridings, Kelli Kolesar, Lauren Holler and Mary Trueblood Fall, among others, all expressed concerns regarding the inclusion of the homeless SMI individuals.

“It was supposed to be veterans homeless housing,” Trueblood Fall said. “Now it’s changing the stipulation of the housing. It now has to have severely mentally ill that must be monitored 24 hours a day.”

The four, along with others, said they were fine with the addition of more affordable housing units in the neighborhood, but the safety risks, especially with schools nearby, is what is putting them on edge. They threatened the city with legal action, with Ridings noting the group has hired an attorney and is prepared to file an injunction.

It may not be the only lawsuit, the group said, saying other residents may come together and file their own suits against the project.

The women said the lack of accountability for the residents is a pressing concerning, saying the residents can use drugs and alcohol and return home, suffer from a variety of illnesses and citing just one case manager being on each site. Additionally, the No Place Like Home program states it accepts tenants “regardless of sobriety, participation in services or treatment, history of incarceration, credit, or history of eviction. … Tenants shall not be required to maintain sobriety, be tested for substances, or participate in services or treatment.”

However, Affirmed Housing representatives said they would pre-screen potential residents.

“There is basically no eviction criteria,” Ridings said. “It seems like they are checking a box and there is no accountability.”

The council members addressed some of the concerns during their final comments and after the meeting, most telling the residents to attend the March 17 workshop at 5 p.m. at the Faraday Center, 1635 Faraday Ave.

Mayor Matt Hall urged the residents to keep an open mind and to see what questions can be answered at the workshop.

Councilwoman Cori Schumacher said some “things” may have been omitted during the Jan. 28 meeting and also urged the residents to attend the March 17 meeting. She also said the city must receive clarification from the county regarding the program.

The council, though, approved the first funding assistance request on Feb. 14, 2017, for $4.25 million. Combined with the additional funds approved, the city is responsible for more than $8 million.

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.

1 comment

Denis Jensen February 28, 2020 at 10:05 am

As a nearby resident, I do not want questions answered at a workshop next month. Our questions are answered in the No Place Like Home mandate quoted in this article. Residents cannot be screened for drug use, crime, or local/veteran status and vague, non-binding rhetoric to the contrary is hot air. The lack of resident screening requirements IS the program. This facility, or anything even close to it is not appropriate to put in our neighborhood, next to our kids and our schools. Why that is not common sense to the Council is baffling.

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