The City of Lake Forest is making groundbreaking moves towards the provision of affordable housing for low-income residents, literally! National Community Renaissance (National CORE), the City, and other development partners held a groundbreaking ceremony on March 15, 2022, at the future site of the Mountain View Affordable Housing Community. The project is at 24551 Raymond Way, across from the post office. The project is anticipated to be completed in the summer of 2023.
“The City of Lake Forest is committed to bringing affordable housing options that provide residents with a beautiful place to call home. Mountain View will be a great asset to our city and our community, bringing additional resources and opportunity,” said Mayor Robert Pequeño during his speech at the groundbreaking event.
The Mountain View Affordable Housing Community will be home to 71 high-quality apartment homes. It will offer one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes to individuals and families with household income-qualifying maximums at various set-asides ranging from 30 to 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). Eight units will be reserved for individuals and families in the region who are experiencing, or at-risk, of homelessness.
Orange County is one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation. In 2015, the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) 2021 Out of Reach Report showed that Orange County was among the nation’s 10 most expensive counties. In 2021, an NLIHC’s 2021 report showed that a family must make $93,240 annually, or $44.83 an hour, to afford the average two-bedroom rent of $2,331. The Mountain View Affordable Housing Community is key to countering these expenses. The project is also aligned with the City's 2021-2029 Housing Element which emphasizes supplying residents with equitable and diverse housing opportunities that meet the existing and future needs of Lake Forest residents.
“It has been a pleasure working with the City of Lake Forest, who have been leading efforts to provide affordable housing in South Orange County,” said Steve PonTell, National CORE President and CEO.
Several other resources will be offered to residents by sponsors of the project. Onsite programming will be made available for all residents by the Hope through Housing Foundation, providing services that give residents the resources and support they need to thrive. The County of Orange and other partners will offer high-quality wraparound supportive services onsite to residents who have previously experienced homelessness.
“Through youth development services and individualized financial coaching, we look forward to empowering families in this new community to reach goals they never thought possible,” said Gregory Bradbard, President of the Hope through Housing Foundation.
The project location is also crucial in supporting the community members. Mountain View is within walking distance of schools, grocery stores, and retail. Residents of Mountain View will have access to onsite laundry facilities, a beautiful courtyard featuring outdoor fireplaces, leisure areas, and a playground. A community center will serve as the hub for activities and services for residents and the neighborhood at large.
The community will be designed to run solely on electric power, making it highly sustainable and resource-efficient. Additionally, the four-story development will have a rooftop photovoltaic solar energy system expected to offset 40 percent of the community’s energy needs. All of Mountain View’s common areas, including its community room and hallways, will be zero net energy. National CORE anticipates these amenities will make Mountain View Gold Level LEED certified. LEED is a rating system that scores building designs in five categories of environmental performance.
For more than 20 years, developers in Lake Forest who did not include affordable housing in their projects paid into a special fund. The City used that money to help fund this project. Ultimately, the City funds will be repaid.
Approval of the project was a huge step for the City of Lake Forest, being its first major affordable housing community since 2015. The City hopes to continue to improve housing opportunities and support.
“We look forward to working with National CORE in the years to come as we continue to provide housing solutions for families and others in need,” said Pequeño.
To hear more from Mayor Robert Pequeño about the project, and see clips from the event, watch the Mayor’s Minute.
For more information on the Mountain View Affordable Housing Community, click here.
To read more about the Groundbreaking Ceremony, click here.