November 9, 2001

Urban Housing Corporation to Transform Blighted Inner City Site Into Beautiful Row Homes For First-Time Buyers

Ground will be broken at 2 p.m. Nov. 9 on a site in the Encanto area of San Diego to build beautiful, safe and affordable housing for 26 low- and moderate-income, first-time home buyers.

Encanto Urban Village, developed by the Urban Housing Corporation, the San Diego Urban League's housing and community development arm, will be comprised of 22 three-story row homes and four single-family homes featuring three bedrooms, two or three bathrooms and 1,300 square feet. The project is expected to be completed in summer 2002. The homes will be located at 6370 Akins Ave. on a site which had been used as storage for abandoned vehicles and an illegal dumping ground for unwanted furniture and other trash.

"This project is a shining example of the success that comes from corporate, private, public and non-profit community members working together," said Phil Brown, Executive Director of the Urban Housing Corporation "Clearly, strong strategic partnerships like this one can create housing opportunities for qualified buyers who need a little help getting into their first home."

The project was financed completely by loans and grants from innovative community development partners. Washington Mutual is providing a $3.62 million construction loan and permanent financing for the project. As the project's premier lender, it is Washington Mutual intention to make all first mortgages to new Encanto Urban Village homeowners.

Other community partners include the San Diego Housing Commission, the Jacob Foundation, State Farm Insurance, Community Development Block Grants, and the Affordable Housing Program.

"Everyone deserves to live in clean, safe and affordable housing," said Brown, adding that Encanto Urban Village is the organization's most ambitious project to date. "With San Diego's sky-high housing prices, fewer people can afford to own a home. Encanto Urban Village welcomes 26 families to live in beautiful new homes and secure their financial future by beginning to build equity."

"Developing affordable housing takes commitment from both for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations," said Art Rivera, Washington Mutual's vice president of corporate affairs in San Diego. "As Amer-ica's largest mortgage lender, our goal is to be a leader in lending to under-served racial and ethnic communities as well as to low- moderate-income borrowers in all of our markets."

Encanto Urban Village features spacious living areas, patios, two-car garages, balconies, and many custom design features. It is located near schools, a new shopping center, and the trolley station. The Urban Housing Corporation selected this site specifically to address "smart growth" issues such as close proximity to mass transportation and needed services.

The Urban Housing Corporation's mission is to provide affordable housing for low-to moderate-income residents, and to promote economic and community development opportunities within the communities served by the San Diego Urban League.

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