PALMDALE – City officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday to signal the completion and opening of the New Beginning rehab project in Palmdale’s Focus Neighborhood #3.
The project consists of two rehabbed four-plexes in the 500 Block of East Avenue Q-4 in Palmdale. The apartments house members of New Beginning Outreach, a program that provides life skills, workforce development, and other reentry services to ex-offenders.
“Housing is a very intricate part of the program,” said James Jones, CEO of New Beginning Outreach. “Without the housing, our program wouldn’t work.”
New Beginning Outreach acquired one of the complexes from the City of Palmdale in late 2009, and acquired the second complex in March of 2011, Jones said. The first complex had already been rehabbed by the city, but the second complex was blighted by drugs and crime.
“The deputies were constantly battling trying to get the drug dealers out of here,” said Palmdale Housing Manager Mike Miller. “When they got somebody out, the landlord would put another tenant in there that would start the same thing.”
“It was a lot of drug use in this area here, so the City of Palmdale wanted to know what we could do with it, if we could turn it around and put it back on its feet,” said Jones. “We said we’d give it a shot.”
He said it took about a year to turn the second complex around.
“We brought in some of our young men to help to rehab this apartment complex,” Jones said. “It was rehabbed from nothing to what it is now.”
New Beginning members worked under the guidance of a local contractor.
“DNL Legacy was the general contractor… donating a lot of hours to training our young men [for] free,” said Jones.
Several local businesses also donated services and supplies to keep the project afloat. For instance, Lowe’s Home Improvement donated many supplies for the project and Carpeteria donated the carpets.
“A lot of our staff came and put the work in for free,” Jones added.
Now the eight apartments are occupied, and four of them house families. The two-bedroom apartments, which would normally run about $1,200-$1,500 a month, were offered at just $600 a month to members of New Beginning Outreach, Jones said.
“They lost everything from a mistake they made and so now they’re trying to get back on their feet, but when you have that background it’s very difficult to do that…” he said. “These apartments help them to have some affordability and to live decently.”
More on Palmdale’s Neighborhood Improvement Program
The City of Palmdale’s Neighborhood Improvement Program was developed by the Housing Division of the Economic Development Department to improve homes where low- to moderate- income families live in specifically targeted areas. The Neighborhood Improvement Program (NIP) selects targeted areas to assist low- to moderate-income families to rehabilitate their homes. Qualified residents living in a focus neighborhood can receive grants for exterior paint, landscape improvements, tool loan vouchers and trash dumpster service. Homeowners may also receive rehabilitation funds through the Home Conservation Loan Program.
As part of the Neighborhood Improvement Program (NIP) and to improve the appearance of the neighborhood, the Public Works Program Management Division repairs existing public improvements, and in some cases provides new public improvements such as sewers, curbs, driveways, sidewalks and landscaping.