A grand opening was held Wednesday for the newest affordable housing apartment complex in Santee, Forester Square (9560 Via Zapador).
City government, business and nonprofit leaders gathered to celebrate with project developer Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation.
The 44-unit development provides an attractive and affordable place to
live for local working families who would not be able to rent a comparable home at the market rate. The occupants of the complex must have a member of the family working and rent is pegged to no more than 30 percent of income.
"I remember what this lot looked like before," said Councilmember John Minto. "Now 44 families can enjoy having something nice of their own and hopefully move up in housing later."
A playground area for children and picnic benches, along with a common room with computer access, are in the center of the complex. All exterior and common area lighting is powered by a 30 kilowatt array of solar panels on the roof of the carport.
The project was in planning and construction phase for about five years, and went through a rocky patch for funding when the city's redevelopment funds were nixed by the state.
"It's the best project in town that almost didn't happen," said City Manager Keith Till.
Beyond affordable rents, Wakeland will provide opportunities for residents’ success by offering a wide range of services in Forester Square’s community center, including after-school programs, community gatherings and financial and workforce development activities.
"After doing a lot of research, there was no doubt in my mind that we need affordable housing in Santee," said Minto.