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State budget proposal includes $15M toward affordable housing development in Coachella Valley

Rent prices are going up year after year.

“I’m already tapping into my savings just to get by to pay for rent,” said resident Kassandra Loureiro.

Loureiro, like so many others, is experiencing these significant price increases firsthand. “It went from like $1400 to $1800, and then now that I’m gone it went up to like $2100.”

After a new property manager took over the building she was living in, Loureiro had to move out. “So I ended up finding a casita and it’s $1000 for like a small room just pretty much a place to stay and a place to use the restroom like," she explained, "There’s not kitchen yeah, just like a restroom and a room and that’s it.”

She said finding an affordable place to live felt almost impossible. “First month, last month's rent which if I’m paying $1000 then I had to pay $1000 for my first month and $1000 for my last month and then it’s look poof! There goes my savings all over again, back to square one.”

According to Rent.com, California has seen a 24% increase in rent on average from 2020-2021.

Fortunately, there could soon be some much needed relief for residents in the Valley.

The Coachella Valley's Housing Catalyst Fund, which is aimed at expediting development of affordable housing units, would receive $15 million under the latest iteration of the state's proposed budget the community group that helps administer the effort announced Monday.   

“Housing is defined as unaffordable for an individual rent burden is defined when you're spending more than a third of your income on rent, which like everyone kind of quickly does the math in their head, and they're like, Wait, that's me,” said Lift to Rise President and CEO Heather Vaikona.

According to Lift to Rise, the allocation would help fund 2,500 affordable housing units in the area over the next two years.   

"The Coachella Valley is ground zero for California's housing crisis but can serve as an inspiring example for how communities can innovatively solve affordable housing issues," said in a statement. "This allocation is the product of the wills and persistence of thousands of community residents, years of shared work of more than 70 local partners in the Coachella Valley."  

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More than 1,250 of the anticipated units are already under development, but they were in need of additional funding before construction could begin, according to the organization.

The group plans to deliver an additional 7,500 new units by 2028.  

"Securing this direct state investment for our Coachella Valley Housing Catalyst Fund is vital to meeting our affordable housing needs and jump-starting construction projects," Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, said. "We are fully focused on getting the votes needed to approve the funds and advance our region's collaborative, strategic housing vision."

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Samantha Lomibao

Samantha joined KESQ News Channel 3 in May 2021. Learn more about Samantha here here.

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