This story was originally published at fresnobee.com on November 18, 2021.
A new supportive services housing apartment complex for formerly homeless residents with mental health needs was unveiled in Fresno on Wednesday.
Created in partnership between Fresno Housing and the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health, the 28-unit Village at Paragon will offer on-site services, such as case management and mental health services. This is the fourth Fresno Housing development that is run in partnership with DBH.
“Stable housing is a critical element of healthcare,” said Susan Holt, who will be taking over as interim director of the department when current director Dawan Utecht leaves Dec. 3.
Unlike temporary shelters for people experiencing homelessness, the Village at Paragon is a permanent housing facility.
“We know in behavioral health that stable housing is the foundation of recovery,” Holt said. “If any one of us here today were to pause and think about after our day is done, going to a place with no roof. How would we address our healthcare needs?”
The project was funded by the No Place Like Home Program, and was one of the first projects to be completed from the eight initially approved by the state. The state program, established in 2016, provides funding for the acquisition, design construction and rehabilitation of permanent supportive housing for unhoused people.
According to Brandi Johnson, communications director for Fresno Housing Authority, more funds from No Place Like Home will support housing projects slated to open in early 2022.
The $3.6 million supportive housing project revitalized a vacant building owned by Fresno Housing into one- and two-bedroom affordable units. Johnson said the cost of each unit will be roughly 30% of a tenant’s adjusted income, but will vary, based on the tenant.
Nearly all units have been filled, and final eligibility meetings will be held this week to fill the remaining available units, Johnson said. The complex is made up of 25 one-bedroom units, two two-bedroom units and a unit for an on-site manager.
“It takes a battalion of committed people for the long haul to produce projects like this,” said Tyrone Roderick Williams, the recently appointed CEO of Fresno Housing.
“What we’ve done here is great, and I want to say thank you from the Board of Supervisors but I can’t stress enough that we are only scratching the surface when it comes to providing affordable housing,” Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig said during the unveiling. “This is one step in the right direction.”
He added that more must be done.
Fresno City Deputy Mayor Matthew Grundy said the project highlights “rehabilitation” and “rebirth’‘ and that Fresno has great need for affordable housing.
“We think there is generational change that is happening here,” Grundy said, “and we hope that will be a key stepping stone.”