Figuring out affordable housing | SierraSun.com

Figuring out affordable housing

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

Affordable housing is coming with a steep learning curve in Truckee both for proponents and area residents.

Between false rumors of affordable rental units filling up early, and speculation over the challenges of for-sale affordable units, developers and officials are struggling to accurately inform those who can benefit from the new workforce housing efforts.

Since affordable housing is a new enterprise for the town, adjustments are already planned for future affordable projects.

“I hear a lot of talk in town that the [Gray’s Crossing affordable rentals] are full ” but they’re not,” said Housing Services Director Tom Ballou of the Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe.

He said roughly two-thirds of the project’s 92 units have been spoken for, leaving available about 30 two- and three-bedroom units.

Depending on the number of rooms and size and income of the household, the affordable residences rent for anywhere from $450 to $940 a month, Ballou said.

“Employers need to get this info to their employees; I was talking to a guy who has employees coming up from Reno everyday that could qualify for these units,” Ballou said.

The apartments, which became available for rental agreements in April, should be ready to move into by the end of this month, Ballou said.

“There was a big rush on them in the beginning, but with the rumors out there we are looking for other ways to make sure this reaches everybody,” Ballou said.

If and when the affordable rentals at Gray’s Crossing do fill up, more projects are on the way, he said, starting with the Frishman Hollow project, with 32 rental units and eight for purchase, which he expects to open this time next year.

David Griffith, redevelopment and housing coordinator for the Town of Truckee, said rentals have been more successful than for-sale affordable housing.

“Both for-sale and for-rent affordable housing takes a lot of time, effort, and money to market the units; it’s an educational process for everybody involved,” Griffith said.

But for-sale units have faced additional challenges, including a lengthy qualification and purchase process that requires a lot of support, he said.

Griffith said while many have called the for-sale units at Spring Creek a failure, the slow sales are the result of being one of the first affordable housing projects in the area.

“The bottom line is we are learning from the process,” Griffith said. “I think we will start seeing a lot more success with the next round of affordable housing projects.”