Brunswick Commons housing for homeless to open next year in Grass Valley | TheUnion.com
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Brunswick Commons housing for homeless to open next year in Grass Valley

John Orona
Staff Writer

More than $12 million in tax credits were allocated last week to Grass Valley’s Brunswick Commons project, a 41-unit housing complex expected to open in December 2021.

Funding for the remainder of the nearly $16 million project planned for 936 Old Tunnel Road will be financed through private capital, county loans and land donated by the county. Construction is expected to begin this December.

The three-story housing complex will target homeless and formerly homeless people for all its units, with 12 units of permanent supportive housing set aside specifically for people with physical, mental or developmental disabilities.

The complex will feature 33 one-bedroom units and eight two-bedroom units, all between 30% to 50% of the area’s median income. According to the project application, the proposed rent will be less than $900 for all units.

When the county purchased the Brunswick Commons’ five-acre site in January 2019, the plan was for it to host both the housing complex and a homeless resource center, but an application for $3 million in Community Development Block Grant funding for the center was denied last year because it did not having enough funds already committed to the project.

A 2017 study found California was last among all states in expenditure rates of housing and community development department funds, leading the department to shift its policies to focus on “shovel-ready” projects that have everything else in place and just need extra funding to break ground.

The resource center portion of Brunswick Commons would have began construction this spring, but with no immediate plans to make up for the lost grant funding, the county may opt for a more affordable resource center design or look for another location altogether, housing director Mike Dent said.

“We’re still looking at options and potential models on that,” said Dent. “We’re looking at cheaper options, either downsized or a modular design, but there’s really no firm time line on that and nothing set in stone.”

In January the county received nearly $500,000 in Whole Person Care Program flexible funding that may be used for the homeless center, but even with a downsized project it would need much more funding as the original was estimated to cost more than $5 million.

In order to ensure it’s able to secure the funding to open the housing complex, the county committed $150,000 in construction funding to the project in February and will apply $1.5 million in No Place Like Home loan funding to the development.

According to Dent, preparations for the housing complex are already underway, with undergrounding plans and dirt work approval already having gone through Grass Valley’s building department.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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