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Inside Prado, Fountain Valley’s new affordable housing community

Orange County Register - 7/20/2022

Thousands of people who work in Orange County commute from many miles away because they cannot afford to live here.

But Fountain Valley is putting a small dent in that dilemma with a new 50-unit complex called Prado, designated for both low-income and extremely low-income renters. Located on Harbor Boulevard just east of Mile Square Park, Prado has also set aside eight units as permanent supportive housing for veterans who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness.

City and county officials gathered Wednesday morning, July 20, to mark the completion of Fountain Valley’s first 100% affordable housing development in 20 years — 19 months after construction broke ground — with a grand opening ceremony.

Residents have already begun to move into their new homes, according to Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do.

“Extreme low- and low-income housing is a critical part of any solution to intransigent issues such as homelessness, mental health, and recidivism. I applaud Fountain Valley in stepping up and contributing to our common goal,” Do said.

The project’s owner and developer, Related California, specializes in affordable housing. After more than 600 hopeful renters applied to live there, Prado is already 100% leased, said Related California CEO Bill Witte.

“Orange County is one of California’s least affordable regions,” Witte said. “Creating housing for working families and individuals close to employment helps fulfill an urgent need.

“It is especially significant when a suburban community like Fountain Valley steps up and enables a project like this to happen,” Witte said.

On a sliding scale, depending on income, Prado’s 23 one-bedroom apartments range in rent from $640-$1,450. Fourteen two-bedroom apartments run $701 to $1,727, and 13 three-bedroom apartments cost from $760 to $1,981.

Fountain Valley’s current market rate is $2,300 monthly rent for a one-bedroom unit and $2,800 for two bedrooms.

Prado’s amenities include a playground, a laundry room, and a barbecue area. Tustin-based nonprofit LifeSTEPS will provide supportive and educational services to help residents on a tight budget.

Sitting on two acres, the $30 million complex comprises four apartment buildings and one building with a multipurpose room and offices.

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