BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — When a waiting line for renting an apartment is longer than a line at Chick-Fil-A during a lunch rush hour…well that says something about the affordable housing crunch here in Kern County.
Construction has just been completed on 12 new affordable housing units in Bakersfield on L Street.
Margaret Ruiz was one of the lucky 12 who got an apartment. She has been waiting in line for over a year.
But that wait is finally over. She signed on the dotted line and all that wait paid off.
“What it means is I get to have a home and that’s a really wonderful feeling especially after staying with my folks for a while so it feels really good,” Ruiz said. “I feel very proud of myself. I feel accomplished today.”
With over 700 underdeveloped landscapes across Bakersfield. There’s space available and a lot of work to be done for the Housing Authority of the County of Kern to pop up more affordable homes.
“When someone applies we tell them it could be eight to ten years or more before they reach the top of the list,” Stephen Pelz the director of the Housing Authority of the County of Kern said. “Yet they keep still applying.”
The ribbon for the apartment homes was cut by local leaders.
These homes are a part of a 28 unit set that make up the “Affordable Housing Infill Program”. Golden Empire Affordable Housing, Inc., partnered with the Housing Authority of the County of Kern to celebrate the completion of the first 12 homes in the program.
The home itself is one bedroom and one bath. It comes in at about 500 square feet. The homes have solar panels to help reduce electricity cost.
Renters will pay out of pocket 600 to 700 dollars per month. Plus, if they have rental assistance it will be even less than that.
These homes are said to be the base model for future housing developments.
City of Bakersfield and Citizens Business Bank financed the program. The Citizens Business Bank also gave a $10,000 check to the Housing Authority for future housing projects.
While the 12 celebrate their win by locking down a new home there are many more waiting in a line that may take a decade to get to the front.
“Just don’t give up and keep on looking,” Ruiz said. “Keep on searching. Keep on trying. Keep on applying. It’s important for families to be on their feet, to be self-sufficient and it’s just a really good feeling to have a home.”