Palo Alto wins housing grant
Publication Date: Wednesday Oct 25, 1995

HOUSING: Palo Alto wins housing grant

Grant for 24-unit housing complex for developmentally disabled

After three years and three tries, the Midpeninsula Housing Coalition has finally succeeded in obtaining a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to construct a new apartment complex on Page Mill Road for the developmentally disabled.

The apartments will be rented to those 18 years of age and older who are capable of independent living. The application selection process has yet to be determined.

Kemp Segerhammar, one of the parents in a group seeking homes for developmentally disabled children, said there's quite a large gap between the two nearest quality facilities in Belmont and North San Jose.

"Here's where we live, and they live here too," Segerhammar said. "So why not have this kind of housing in this area?"

HUD is providing nearly $2 million for the 24-unit independent-living complex at Ash Street and Page Mill Road and will provide an additional $400,000 over a five-year period in rent subsidies.

"That five years of assistance will help us keep rents affordable for the next five years," said Janet Stone, the coalition's project coordinator for Palo Alto housing. "What that means is we can rent to people whose income may not be very high."

Palo Alto will also provide some of the funds needed for site acquisition and for some construction costs that HUD won't cover. Stone said they hope to break ground on the complex by the end of 1996.

"The network of parents with developmentally disabled children is pretty big," Segerhammar said. "So there's a lot of excitement about this thing."

The Ash Street complex will provide apartments and counseling services and training for living skills such as money management, shopping skills and meal planning. Job training will also be provided through nearby educational institutions such as De Anza and Foothill colleges.

Lynda Steele, executive director of the Community Association for Rehabilitation, sees a real need for this kind of housing in the area. Her organization provided the coalition with letters of support for their grant applications to HUD.

"Many of the people we serve need this kind of housing," Steele said. "There's a need for a whole range of housing. Not just apartment living. There are a whole range of people with a whole range of needs."

C.A.R. is one of many local nonprofit organizations that may end up working with the coalition and Ash Street residents. The Peninsula Association for Retarded Children and Adults is another specialty service provider that may work with residents. PARCA currently provides contract services for a similar complex in Belmont.

"These services help provide . . . access to the community," said Judy Hurley, associate executive director of PARCA. "(The services) truly are critical. Without having somebody help them with managing their money for rent . . . they couldn't stay there. It's very exciting because there's such a need for low-income housing for everyone in the community."

--Kevin Moore 

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