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Nevada County supervisors approve purchase of land for homeless day center, housing

Nevada County officials moved closer on Tuesday to realizing the construction of a homeless day center and an affordable housing project on Old Tunnel Road in Grass Valley.

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the purchase of 936 Old Tunnel Road for $223,900. The five-acre parcel is slated for an estimated 6,000-square-foot day center and 40 housing units, both of which hinge on outside funding and remain months, if not over a year, away from construction.

Mike Dent, the county’s director of child support, collections, housing and community services, emphasized that many aspects of the project — like the day center’s size — are estimates only.

“The grant application is still being processed,” he said.

The cost of the day center could reach an estimated $4 million or $5 million. The cost of the housing units is unknown, Dent said.

The day center could take 18 months to two years to build, once construction begins. The housing portion won’t start before spring 2020, he added.

“It’s tough being homeless,” said Nancy Baglietto, executive director of Hospitality House, who spoke Tuesday at the supervisors meeting. “It’s a full-time job in and of itself.

“If we’re going to ameliorate homelessness, we’re got to do it through housing,” she added later.

Supervisors on Tuesday also unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding between Hospitality House, the Regional Housing Authority and the county. The agreement is linked to grant applications the county is preparing — funds they hope will help pay for the day center and housing project.

County officials are rapidly approaching two deadlines for grant applications.

The first is Jan. 30 for the No Place Like Home Program. Dent said those funds — which could range from $1 million to $3 million, another estimate — would help pay for 12 of the 40 housing units. Those 12 units are slated for those with significant mental health issues.

The second deadline is Feb. 6 for Community Development Block Grants officials want for the day center. Dent said $3 million is the maximum he can request.

Supervisors praised the two projects.

“I’m thrilled to see it come this far,” Supervisor Heidi Hall said.

“This is an aggressive, exciting project,” Supervisor Dan Miller said moments later.

According to Dent, the January 2018 homeless count revealed 272 people in Nevada County without housing. Sixty-five percent of them — about 177 — lived here, had family here or came to Nevada County because of a job and then became homeless.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.


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