Liberty Lane in Redlands Receives $23 Million to Build 80 Affordable Housing Units

By: Sharjeel Sohaib

• 

Jan 27, 2023

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  • Liberty Lane, a project based in Redlands that supports veterans by providing them with safe housing, received more than $23 million in government financing.
  • U.S. Representative Pete Aguilar states that 80 affordable housing units will be built at West Lugonia Avenue and Texas Street in Redlands

Funding for Liberty Lane Redlands

The funding comes from a $50 million initiative in San Bernardino County funded by the American Rescue Plan, which also formed the California Housing Accelerator program. The American Rescue Plan, which Aguilar worked to approve in 2021, was what allowed for the government funds.

“My top priority in Congress has been to tackle the affordable housing and homelessness crisis in the Inland Empire,” he said. “I am proud to have secured this critical funding, and I will continue fighting for more federal dollars to ensure every Inland Empire resident has a place to call home.”

“The least we can do for those who served our nation is to ensure that veterans have adequate housing,” said Dawn Rowe, chairperson of the county Board of Supervisors.

Veterans homeless in the county and those with special needs and low-income families would benefit from Liberty Lane’s provision of homes and supportive services.

Read Here: Redlands City Council Approves Mixed-Use Facility: 700 apartments, condos, restaurants, and More.

California Housing Accelerator

The California Housing Accelerator initiative hastens the construction of housing for individuals in need while reducing the backlog of housing projects that have been postponed because of financial concerns. 

This program fills in any funding holes in projects that have already received financing from the California Department of Housing & Community Development but still need to be eligible for low-income housing tax credits.

Liberty Lane Project Approval: Created to Impact Homeless Veterans

The Redlands City Council approved the Liberty Lane project in 2017.

The outcomes of San Bernardino’s laser-like concentration on homeless veterans are encouraging. Even though the county placed 781 homeless veterans in less than two years, 40 to 45 new ones each month come into the system.

Three housing bills that Gov. Jerry Brown recently approved could help ease the affordable housing issue, but they come at a heavy price.

Local headway on this issue was made in September 2017 when the Redlands City Council authorized the Liberty Lane Project, an 80-unit apartment complex for homeless and low-income veterans and their families. Residents who opposed the project, led by Rosa Gomez, engaged in a very animated discussion before the council’s vote.

Read More: A crisis of homelessness for veterans.

Community opposition to the project

Citizens for Equitable Redlands filed a lawsuit to stop the project.

A petition filed in San Bernardino Superior Court by Citizens for Equitable Redlands contests the City Council’s approval of the Liberty Lane project on September 19.

According to the petition, the high-density project is incompatible with the established North Redlands neighborhood, which consists of single-family houses. According to the petitioners, the proposal would have adverse environmental effects on the community, including visual and acoustic problems.

Read More: Residents file a petition opposing the Redlands housing project. 

Resolution of Environmental Issues and Reapproval of the Project

The council put off considering the project to allow staff time to resolve issues with the project’s environmental documentation.

“This project is the right one at the right location,” said Dora Gallo, A Community of Friends executive director. “It is near amenities and precisely where families want to live and where our veterans deserve to have these amenities.”

A Superior Court judge supported the idea in a 40-page judgment published a year later. The project was again approved in 2019.

Read More: Supporters of proposed veterans housing project in Redlands speak out.

Wrap Up!

Liberty Lane project has obtained more than $23 million in government funding. This funding is a part of a $50 million initiative in San Bernardino County, supported by the American Rescue Plan and the California Housing Accelerator program. 

Despite initial resistance, the Liberty Lane project was given the green light by the Redlands City Council in 2019. It has also been commended for its beneficial impact on veterans experiencing homelessness in the area.

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