Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Apartment complex a dream for residents
Villa Esperanza opens, offering 57 affordable units
Pomona took another step toward providing more affordable housing during California’s housing crisis with its newest addition, Villa Esperanza.
The building, which has 57 units with one, two and three bedrooms, had its grand opening and ribbon cutting Thursday. Community leaders, current and future residents attended.
Villa Esperanza, which has been in development for more than three years, will serve veterans, low-income residents and those who were previously homeless. The project is on a 1.43-acre lot and fulfills Pomona’s vision of providing housing that is energy efficient and also serves the community.
Residents will pay 20- to 60% of the area’s median income for rent and will have access in the building to mental health services provided by Tri-city Mental Health. The complex also has an after-school program. Other amenities include laundry facilities, a playground, a community garden and a dog park for residents.
Of the 57 apartments, 10 were set aside for homeless families and eight for formerly homeless veterans.
Villa Esperanza was built by the nonprofit housing developer Jamboree Housing Corp. and the Pomona Housing Authority, which worked with state agencies to fund the project. A $1.3 million construction loan came from the San Gabriel Valley Regional Housing Trust and the city of Pomona provided $3.4 million toward the land and eight Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers. Wells Fargo contributed $14.6 in construction financing and $13.1 million in taxcredit equity.
The building has a contemporary exterior aligning with that of Pomona’s Mission District and downtown. The apartments feature energy-efficient appliances and lighting fixtures.
Each has a balcony with storage space.
Currently, 66% of the units have been filled, but some residents have begun to move in. Helena Whitney and her daughter and Johana Gonzales and her children are two families that are getting settled.
Whitney, who has struggled with mental health issues and housing insecurity for the past few years, saw
Villa Esperanza as a muchneeded lifeline for her and her daughter.
“It’s beyond magical,” Whitney said. “It really is. It’s one of the hugest blessings I think I have ever received, and was even hard for me to receive it because it was just so surreal. That I’m finally here, I’m finally home.”
Whitney said that, as a single mother, the struggle to find stable housing, along with seeking mental health treatment, was almost too much to bear.
“Constantly jumping from house to house to house. It’s so debilitating to the mind, body and soul,” Whitney said. “And when stuff like this gets put out in the world, it makes me feel like I do have hope because there was really a life-anddeath situation for me.
“It made me feel more at peace, and I felt safer. I feel like people actually care, and that is really rare to find these days.”
Gonzales, who spoke at