FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            June 28, 2016 For More Information, Contact: Gabe Carhart (408) 299-5050 office (650) 740-9399 cell [email protected]    PARTNERSHIP TO SAVE BUENA VISTA MOBILE HOME PARK APPROVED HOUSING AUTHORITY BEGINS NEXT STEPS   SAN JOSE – A proposed three-way partnership to preserve the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park in Palo Alto has been approved by Santa Clara County, the City of Palo Alto, and the Housing Authority of Santa Clara County.   The Palo Alto City Council approved the partnership at its meeting last night, and the Housing Authority’s Board of Directors approved the partnership earlier this morning. The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved the partnership last week (6/21). All votes were unanimous.   Simitian said he was, “gratified by the support of all three agencies, and particularly encouraged by the fact that the decision was unanimous in every case. With everyone pulling together we’re well positioned to preserve 117 units of affordable housing, prevent the eviction of 400 low income residents, and ensure that the current property owner receives full and fair market value for the property.”   With all three bodies having approved the partnership, the Housing Authority will now pursue the following steps, including:  

  • Conducting a formal appraisal of the property;
  • Issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a nonprofit partner to operate the Park;
  • Evaluating the funds needed for short and long-term improvements to the Park; and,
  • Determining the appropriate affordability restrictions.

  Once this due diligence is completed, Housing Authority staff will report back to the Authority’s Board of Commissioners, who will take a formal vote on whether to acquire the park. If they decide to move forward, the Housing Authority will re-open negotiations with the owner based on the appraised value of the park.   Simitian said, “Looking ahead, the Housing Authority is key. They’re the one governmental entity in Santa Clara County that is actually responsible for creating and providing affordable housing. And they can use all the tools and resources at their disposal to move forward with funding, acquiring, improving, and preserving the Park as affordable housing in perpetuity.”   The partnership entails:  

  • A $14.5 million contribution of affordable housing fees from the County;
  • A $14.5 million contribution of affordable housing fees from the City;
  • A financial contribution from the Housing Authority, if necessary (in an amount to be determined), sufficient, along with County and City funding, to fund the cost of purchasing the property; and,
  • The Housing Authority will acquire and own the property, with the Park to be maintained, improved, and operated by a non-profit entity.

  Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese said, “It is crucial that we avoid displacement of our residents and that we seize on every opportunity to preserve our existing affordable housing. The Buena Vista Mobile Home Park is one of the few affordable housing enclaves in the region.”   Katherine Harasz, Executive Director of the Housing Authority, said, “We are excited to join the effort. The Buena Vista Mobile Home Park is a unique source of affordable housing in an area where there are few opportunities for affordable housing.”
“We know, of course, that last fall, negotiations to buy the Park stalled,” said Harasz. “Once we have an appraisal and have finished due diligence, the Housing Authority Board will consider acquisition of the Park in an effort to keep these 400 families in their homes, including negotiation and, if necessary, eminent domain.”
The Buena Vista Mobile Home Park is home to approximately 117 mostly low-income Latino families, about 400 people in total. The owner announced plans to close the Park in 2012; and the Park’s closure was approved in May of 2015. The Park’s closure would displace these families and force them out of Palo Alto.   ###  

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