Business · Visalia

Visalia OKs sale, paving way for downtown homeless housing project

A new housing project for low-income and homeless residents will be on its way to downtown Visalia soon. 

The Visalia City Council unanimously approved the sale of 300 E. Oak Ave. to Self-Help Enterprises for $1.2 million dollars to build a mixed-use housing complex that will include housing units for the city’s homeless population. 

Self-Help Enterprises is a local organization that helps low-income individuals and families with their housing needs through various programs, including a “build your own home” program and downpayment assistance, among others. 

The project – which has been in the works since early 2019 – will be a three-story mixed-use complex that has seven one-bedroom lofts on the first floor. The second and third floors will house 51 one-bedroom units and 22 two-bedroom units. 

Named The Lofts at Fort Visalia, the building will have 3,500 square feet on the first floor for an art gallery and community room which will house an area for resident services. 

There will also be space for an office, computer lab, laundry room, maintenance area, storage area and space for on-site wraparound supportive services. 

The outdoor space will have picnic tables, shade structures and a playground. 

The Lofts will serve households that are at 60 percent area median income (AMI) or lower. 

Out of the total space available, there will be 34 units designated for households between 0-30 percent AMI, 16 units for households between 3`-50 percent AMI and 29 units for households between 51-60 percent AMI. 

There will be 40 units available as permanent supportive housing for people who are chronically homeless or at risk of chronic homelessness. 

Self-Help Enterprises received $9.2 million to help fund the project from the No Place Like Home program, and has $15.2 million in tax exempt construction financing, $6.5 million in taxable construction financing, $580,000 from the Tulare County Permanent Local Housing Allocation and $286,000 in impact fee credits. 

Monday’s decision comes just a few months after the council approved $5 million for the first low-barrier homeless shelter. 

That 100-bed shelter, which will be constructed by the Riverway Sports Park, will house over 500 of Visalia’s homeless.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.