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Supes award $1.2 million to save veteran housing project

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The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved an additional $1.2 million award for the construction of a 60-unit Windsor Veterans Village.

The additional funding is needed because of construction cost increases beyond normal market conditions in California, the county’s Community Development Commission said.

The 2017 North Bay wildfires also have caused higher than normal increases in local rebuilding construction costs, especially for concrete, the commission said.

The Windsor Veterans Village multi-family rental development in Windsor is poised for construction and has been awarded $32 million in permanent financing in addition to a $22 million bond allocation for construction. The Board of Supervisors also awarded $750,000 for the project in February 2018.

The Veterans Housing Development Corporation and Urban Housing Communities LLC, the developers of the project, informed the Community Development Commission that the construction cost increases are based on final bids from general contractors that caused a $2.5 million budget gap. Urban Housing Communities LLC closed the budget gap by deferring additional developer fees, increasing the amount of conventional debt and other measures to close the funding gap to $1.2 million.

Without the additional $1.2 million from the county, the project could lose $12.8 million in federal 4 percent Low Income Housing Tax credits and $9.9 million in state Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Program funds. The project financing must be closed by Wednesday, the Community Development Commission said.

Groundbreaking on the project is scheduled for July 24, and the project should be completed in 16 months, the commission’s Affordable Housing Director Benjamin Wickham said.

A point-in-time count of homeless people in the county on Jan. 25 found 210 homeless veterans, 68 percent of them unsheltered.

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