Op-ed: Residents move in to North Auburn Mercy at Rock Creek, more please
By Veronica Blake, CEO, Placer Community Foundation
Published May 11, 2022 in the Auburn Journal
Today we laud the Placer County Board of Supervisors for hearing the cry to do more to expand housing for all residents. The dedication of 79 units of affordable housing at North Auburn Mercy at Rock Creek and the families that are moving in, serve as inspiration that in fact, we can work together and construct housing that is affordable for all income earners.
It’s been more than twenty years since the affordable yet woefully substandard Bell Gardens apartments were torn down. Using surplus land in the government center was a smart decision and a step in the right direction to increase the number of affordable units our community requires to support its workforce.
According to the County’s 2021 Housing Element update, of the 757 residential building permits issued, only ten percent are considered affordable, and none of these units are deed-restricted to maintain affordability.
Now that we know it can be done and with support from the surrounding community, we need to seize the opportunity and use the significant surplus land available to create more multi-family affordable housing in the government center.
The site combines a number of ideal factors that align in a way like no other in the county. There are no land costs; much of the infrastructure is in place; the site is close to employment centers, healthcare services, schools, transit, shopping, parks, and restaurants; it is an existing transit hub; and has bicycle and pedestrian walkways to reduce air and noise pollution within the campus and surrounding areas.
The government center area is a major employment hub with many lower wage jobs and the community would benefit from having more housing in this area that is pedestrian and environmentally friendly.
Placer County, we are proud of you but the time is now to do more. Action equals construction and we have a blueprint for affordable housing. There is more land right here on the Placer County Government Center grounds. We can fast track this and put more families in homes. Let’s commit to putting our focus toward another project. Let’s start tackling the steps needed to do this together.