STOCKTON — The only problem with eight new modular homes in south Stockton, officials say, is that there aren’t 800 more of them in the city.
The Housing Authority of the County of San Joaquin on Monday afternoon officially opened its new Conway Homes project, located at 2733 Connecticut St., with a ribbon-cutting and tour of a two-bedroom duplex unit, complete with EnergyStar appliances and water efficient landscaping.
Peter Ragsdale, the housing authority’s executive director, said the new Conway Homes models, along with four new units at its Sierra Vista development in Mountain House, will be a first step in revitalizing the county’s public housing stock.
Stockton City Councilman Michael Tubbs said the development speaks to the need and fundamental truth of the community — that more units like Conway Homes are needed.
“No matter what part of town you live in, no matter how much you make or how old you are, this is the kind of home you want to live in,” he said. “There are a lot more of these homes to do.”
The new units all have two bedrooms, a full kitchen, a common area and a bathroom. They also have heating and air conditioning, as well as a front and backyard.
In addition, ramps to the front and back doors allow them to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
The Conway Homes development is the pilot phase for the Mountain View Revitalization Project, which involves replacing about 330 public housing units at Sierra Vista Homes in south Stockton.
Martha Moore, an HACSJ commissioner, has been living in a one-bedroom home in Sierra Vista development since she retired about 30 years ago.
While negative stereotypes such as high-crime areas and run-down buildings are sometimes pinned to public housing developments, Moore said she loves living in Sierra Vista.
“It’s like living anywhere else,” she said. “We do have the police out there once in a while, but it’s not a bad place. The community is very close-knit, and we all watch out for each other.”
According to Ragsdale, there are 1.2 million units of public housing in the country, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates there is a $26 million backlog to modernize public housing in America.
However, Ragsdale said housing industry groups estimate the backlog to be closer to $50 billion, and once allocated, HACSJ could potentially receive about $200 million to make the rest of its modular homes, as well as future ones, more like Conway Homes.
He said the HACSJ commission, state legislators, interested citizens and representatives from the private and public sectors must come together to compete for those HUD dollars.
“It’s time for us to get in the game,” he said. “We are going to step forward and do our best to be successful, so residents have an opportunity to live in modern homes with modern amenities. It’s going to be exciting.”
According to an HACSJ news release, the homes were delivered to the site in June, and the project was completed in less than six months.
“This is a huge step forward for our community,” San Joaquin County Supervisor Carlos Villapudua said. “If you drive around the community, you’ll see that it has challenges. But when you see a development like this coming into your community, you just have to applaud.”
— Contact reporter Wes Bowers at (209) 546-8258 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at recordnet.com/bowersblog and on Twitter @WBowersTSR.