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Monday, July 26, 2021

Woodland celebrates construction of new affordable housing complex

West Beamer Place apartments officially opened in December, offering 80 new homes to low-income families

On Dec. 11, Yolo County officials and developers celebrated the opening of West Beamer Place, a low-income apartment complex in Woodland almost 15 years in the making. The 80 new homes in West Beamer Place aim to provide relief for homeless individuals or those at risk of homelessness in Yolo County and to residents in need of mental health services.

The opening ceremony took place at the site of the new complex, 10 N. Cottonwood Street in West Woodland. Housing and mental health officials from Yolo County spoke alongside staffers from Mercy Housing, the national affordable housing nonprofit that led the project. Mercy Housing worked in conjunction with Yolo County Housing and New Hope Community  Development Corporations to oversee construction of West Beamer Place, thanking these partners in a Facebook post announcing the dedication.

“Mercy Housing joined with New Hope CDC, Yolo County Housing, and Yolo County for the Dedication of West Beamer Place earlier this week,” the post read. “We are so grateful to our partners for helping create these 80 lovely homes for families in Woodland.”

Among the speakers at the event was James Glica-Hernandez, the chairman of the Yolo County Mental Health Board. In a later interview, Glica-Hernandez spoke optimistically about the completion of the project, as well as the future of West Beamer Place.

“Yolo County Housing, Mercy [Housing] and the HHFA — you know, the Health and Human Services Agency for Yolo County — and all the other partners of this have worked a very long time to make sure this is an outstanding project,” Glica-Hernandez said. “It’s going to serve a lot of people for a long time.”

Glica-Hernandez also spoke on his personal connection to the site of West Beamer Place, where the General Hospital and Peterson Clinic formerly stood.

“The site is on the site where my brother was born, and my brother died when he was 45 of mental illness and substance abuse issues,” Glica-Hernandez said. “So, for me, this is hope for people like my brother.”

Construction of the project began in June 2017, according a Nextdoor post from Woodland Community Services Program Manager Kris Bain. But planning and development began long before that. Glica-Hernandez doesn’t remember exactly when planning for the complex started, but estimates sometime in the early 2000’s. He believes that it required about 13 years to coordinate plans for West Beamer Place. Glica-Hernandez marveled at the support he witnessed throughout the planning process from the residents of Woodland.

“Some people are really afraid of having that kind of housing development, and that wasn’t the case here in Woodland,” Glica-Hernandez said. “We really had a wonderful community come together and create a beautiful place.”

Now completed, West Beamer Place will allocate the new homes between homeless individuals, those who are at risk of homelessness and others. Bain detailed the planned distribution of units in his Nextdoor post.

“The development will provide 48 family units as well as permanent supportive housing for 32 qualified Yolo County residents experiencing, or at-risk of, homelessness,” Bain’s post read. “Twenty of these 32 units will be reserved for Mental Health Services Act qualified households. The other 12 case managed units are for homeless or at-risk of homelessness. All units are permanent affordable housing.”

According to Mercy House’s website, alongside the 80 garden-style apartments, the complex also provides a number of amenities to residents, including a computer area, multi-purpose community spaces, on-site laundry and an outdoor terrace. Health services, shopping centers and schools are also located nearby.

Glica-Hernandez spoke highly of the design of the new homes and of all those involved in the project.

“I would live there in a New York minute,” he said. “They’re beautiful. It’s really affordable, and it’s just beautiful. So I think the people are really lucky, and they’re really doing things to create community there. From my vantage point, this hasn’t just been an assignment, a work assignment. This has been a passion for a lot of people involved for a long time. They wanted to get this right, and that’s what’s been so inspirational about the whole thing.”

Written by: Tim Lalonde — city@theaggie.org

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