The Santa Clara County Housing Authority (SCCHA) and the owner of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park have reached an agreement that will ensure the preservation and upgrade of the mobile home park in Palo Alto. The agreement will allow 400 low-income residents to remain in their homes at Buena Vista and is pending a formal vote by the housing authority’s board of commissioners on May 23.
SCCHA will acquire and own the property for $40,375,000, with funding for the purchase and redevelopment coming from a three way partnership between the City of Palo Alto, Santa Clara County and the housing authority. Palo Alto and the county have committed $29 million in dedicated affordable housing local funds for the acquisition and rehabilitation. The housing authority will contribute the remainder of the purchase price.
Today’s announcement wraps up four months of negotiations following an extensive due diligence process by the housing authority that included everything from obtaining a fair market value appraisal to securing a park operator.
"This is an extraordinary opportunity to preserve affordable housing for low-income residents, including at least 100 children, in a city where it is desperately needed. Palo Alto's commitment of affordable housing funds to this project are well spent," said Palo Alto Mayor Greg Scharff.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who has championed the county's efforts to preserve the mobile home park since January 2015, said, "From the beginning of this effort we've had three goals: to preserve 117 units of desperately needed affordable housing; to prevent the eviction of 400 low income residents, folks who truly have nowhere else to go; and, to ensure that the current property owner receives full and fair market value for the property. With today's announcement we can celebrate the realization of all three goals. All of this happened because so many good folks had the grit, the determination, and the decency to make it happen."
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo led the charge to obtain HUD’s approval for SCCHA to use federal funding for the project, working with former Secretary Julian Castro from February 2015 until Inauguration Day in January.
“Today is cause for great celebration for the residents of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park. I’m proud to have helped secure $26 million in federal funding to complement the overall package to save the homes of 400 Palo Altans. These resources will also help to renovate over 100 units of affordable housing for the community," said Congresswoman Eshoo. "The efforts of the Santa Clara County Housing Authority, the city of Palo Alto, the county of Santa Clara, and the superb leadership of Supervisor Joe Simitian have brought about a remarkable success for our mutual constituents.”
"We are really happy the housing authority could join the community-wide effort to ensure the permanent availability of this important affordable housing resource in Palo Alto," said Kathy Espinoza Howard, chair of the Santa Clara County Housing Authority's board of commissioners.
The parties expect to conclude the acquisition by early fall, following a subdivision of the park from the part of the parcel that includes commercial uses that the owners, Tim and Eva Jisser will retain. The housing authority and its operator will continue assessment of the park and the park residents' needs, and begin the design and permitting of infrastructure and other needed improvements.