New, low-income apartments don’t always go to the low-income people who already live in the city they’re built. Leaders in National City have a plan to fight the displacement of the city’s low-income residents.
In November, residents of National City’s Westside rejoiced as the low-income Paradise Creek apartment complex broke ground. Community members had spent countless evenings meeting with developers and city leaders for the past decade, planning for a project they wanted and needed.
Then the residents learned the 201 new homes reserved for low-income residents wouldn’t necessarily be reserved for them. Low-income residents from outside National City would be able to get their names on the waiting list for the new apartments, too.
“The truth is, I felt sad,” said Carmen Arroyo, in Spanish. Arroyo is a National City resident who had attended project meetings for years and who has been on the waiting list for an apartment there since before it broke ground. “My church fought for 12 years so that those apartments be built there. And it would only be fair if the people of National City who fought for it have a priority.”
The City Council for National City, however, has a plan. Last week, it adopted a policy that would give first dibs to local residents for new, low-income homes.
Paradise Creek dealt with a decade of bureaucratic wrangling and funding uncertainty beforeconstruction started last year. It is in an industrial part of National City, a few blocks from the 24th Street Trolley Station. It was the only housing project in the region to receive state cap-and-trade money, and one of five projects nationwide to receive an Environmental Protection Agency sustainable communities grant. The first part will include 109 homes and is expected to be completed by end of the year. The rest will finish in 2017.