Affordable housing breaks ground in Hayward

Louis Laventure,
Sports and Campus Editor

Ingrid Matskas has lived in affordable housing for seniors in West Hayward near Tennyson Road and Hesperian Boulevard for the last 10 years. Matskas fled from Germany with her father in 1951 after World War II and worked here as a nanny and a maid until 2005. She’s since relied on Social Security for her total income: she receives $900 a month and pays $231 for rent, which she credits as “saving her life” because she had no place else to go.

“I am on a fixed income so these apartments literally saved my life,” Matskas said. “I survived World War II and the Holocaust but who would have known that finding a place I could afford would have been one of my toughest battles.”

She had no family here and when she stopped working, got on a housing list and qualified for low-income housing after about a year and a half. She’s lived in West Hayward ever since.

For nearly 10 years, two apartment complexes in Hayward have required that their residents make under a certain amount of money to be eligible for units that are rented at well below market value. A new housing development in South Hayward aims to help more low-income individuals and families obtain affordable apartments and houses in the Bay Area.

AMCAL Multi-Housing and Eden Housing in South Hayward, sister organization of AMTEX in Texas, hosted a groundbreaking ceremony June 30 for a new structure that will include 87 one – two- and three-bedroom units targeted at households that earn between 20 and 50 percent of Alameda County’s median income, which is $72,112. The complex will also include 64 one- and two-bedroom affordable senior apartments. The new South Hayward complex should be completed in 2016, according to Eden Housing and AMCAL.

Cadence, the name of the complex, is the fourth housing development project facilitated by AMCAL, who received recognition that included the best project award from the National Association of Home Builders for a similar project they did in Los Angeles last year that included condos, family affordable apartments, senior affordable apartments and retail shops in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood.

The groundbreaking comes on the heels of a Supreme Court ruling that will make it easier for cities to force housing developers to make some of the property available at a rate lower than the market value by including the provisions in the preliminary contracts. It was a unanimous decision written by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauy that followed a lengthy investigation by the state that cites the lack of affordable housing in California.

“It will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with California‘s current housing market that the significant problems arising from a scarcity of affordable housing have not been solved over the past three decades,” Cantil-Sakauy said in the ruling. “Rather, these problems have become more severe and have reached what might be described as epic proportions in many of the states localities.”

According to AMCAL and Eden Housing these apartment complexes are aimed to help people save money in hopes that they will eventually purchase a home or property of their own. One of the complexes is located on Whipple road and Mission Boulevard and another is on C Street near the Castro Valley border.

Karina Vidale was a resident of the Whipple Road location for a year and credited the apartments low rent with her being able to purchase her own home. “I was really struggling working a part-time job as a single mom with two kids,” Vidale said. “I was paying just about $400 for a two-bedroom apartment for a year. If I tried to get a regular apartment that size I would have had to pay about $1200 a month. It helped me save enough money to put a down payment on my own home in Lodi near my family.”

Vidale is just one of the success stories of the new affordable housing complexes. According to the report, an average California home costs $440,000, about two and a half times the average national home price of $180,000.