BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Wednesday marks a new beginning for Old Town Kern, with the ground-breaking of 85 affordable housing units called ‘Renaissance at Baker.’

The Cesar Chavez Foundation and Housing Authority of the County of Kern worked together on the project for more than three years and according to Chavez Foundation’s Alfredo Izmajtovich, rent at the housing units will range from $400 to $1,300 per month. Targeted toward working-class families who he shares need help during California’s growing housing crisis.

“It’s a win-win. It creates long-term affordable housing for the people in the community as well as improving the infrastructure encouraging public transportation, development, just a host of wonderful things,” said Izmajtovich.

According to the Chief Operating Officer of the foundation, Manuel Bernal, this is the first time in more than 20 years that the Chavez Foundation has done a project like this in Bakersfield.

“Affordable housing development is very tricky, very expensive, and it takes a long time to get projects developed […] It takes at least five years from start to finish at least and the funds are really scarce. So there really isn’t enough money to build a lot of housing throughout the valley,” said Bernal.

The development will include not only the housing units, but an on-site job spot as well to provide a resource for residents to improve their resumes, job training, and more.
Bernal said that makes the project a key asset for the area.

“The fact of the matter is rents in California and Bakersfield will only increase and these rents in this property will stay at an affordable level for the next 55 years at least and that’s an asset because you have families that may not be working, or they’re working but they may not have the highest paying jobs that need a place where they can live and not take away 90% of their paycheck,” said Bernal.

According to those with the Chavez Foundation, the plan is to open the affordable housing units by 2025.