Affordable housing rehab effort gets a boost

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As affordable housing in Los Alamos remains in relatively short supply, one apartment complex is getting a boost for a rehab project through a grant program.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and Los Alamos National Bank announced they have awarded a $252,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant to YES Housing, Inc. to assist with the rehabilitation of a dated apartment community.

The grant funds are part of a $6.2 million project that aim to revitalize the property into a new affordable housing community in Los Alamos.

Mesa Del Norte was originally developed in 1996 as a 36-unit apartment community available only to families with incomes less than 60 percent of the area’s median income level. It consists of four, two-story 8- and 12-plex buildings with one-, two-, and three-bedroom units.

As of March 2012, Mesa Del Norte had an occupancy level of 92 percent, and YES Housing, Inc. believes the upcoming renovations will help the property remain competitive in the affordable housing market.

AHP grants are awarded through FHLB Dallas member financial institutions, such as Los Alamos National Bank, to assist in the development of affordable, owner-occupied and rental housing for very low- to moderate-income households. In 2012, FHLB Dallas awarded $8.3 million in AHP funding to 31 projects across its five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. The funding will result in the creation or rehabilitation of 1,248 housing units across the District.

“We are very excited about this development,” said Michelle Den Bleyker, vice president of real estate development at YES Housing, Inc, and a member of FHLB Dallas’s Advisory Council. “Mesa Del Norte has served Los Alamos well for more than 15 years, and these renovations will give the property a fresh look, new amenities, and ‘green’ upgrades. We are grateful for the support of Los Alamos National Bank and FHLB Dallas, as it is these types of partnerships that help us improve and meet the evolving needs of our residents.”

Mesa Del Norte is home to many families with children, and the renovations will focus on improving the community’s common areas. The renovation plans include a new playground, outdoor seating area, retention pond, computer learning center, and new landscaping and sidewalks. The freestanding community center will be upgraded to include an office for a social service coordinator, additional maintenance space, meeting space for the residents, and a leasing office. Improvements to the units will include the addition of central air conditioning, new flooring, new cabinetry and fixtures, windows, and doors. Once complete, eight of the units will be reserved for special needs residents.

“As a community bank, Los Alamos National Bank is proud to support the local communities we serve,” said Anne Kain, cashier and vice president at Los Alamos National Bank. “By sponsoring this grant, it will allow improvements to be made to Mesa Del Norte and will enhance the quality of life for the residents. We are glad that we can participate in such a worthwhile project.”

The renovations for the complex located on San Ildefonso Road began in December 2012 and are expected to be complete by June 2013. YES Housing, Inc. has arranged for temporary housing for its current residents during the renovation process.