California Affordable Housing Developer Builds Hope

AMCAL Multi-Housing, Inc., a developer of affordable housing, is celebrating the success of its inaugural street fair and fundraiser designed to deliver support services and life-changing opportunities to residents.

Agoura Hills, Calif.—AMCAL Multi-Housing, Inc., an Agoura Hills, Calif., developer of affordable housing, is celebrating the success of its inaugural street fair and fundraiser designed to deliver support services and life-changing opportunities to residents.

Its first Partnership for H.O.P.E. Community Fair and Fundraiser, co-hosted by its non-profit partner, was staged on September 10, and generated $110,000 to benefit families living in its affordable and workforce communities.

“In all our projects, we team with a 501c3 social services provider called LifeSTEPS, which provides high-quality services to residents of affordable housing,” AMCAL CEO Percy Vaz tells MHN. “Those services include after-school care, English-as-a-second-language classes, computer training and transportation for seniors to and from shopping and medical services.

“We provide the funding, LifeSTEPS raises additional funds themselves and provides the services once the housing is built by AMCAL and is operating.”

At AMCAL’s April management meeting, the team decided it would enhance the services provided to residents, and would add counseling, resume writing assistance and financial help to those who could not make rent payments.

The vehicle chosen to raise necessary additional funds was the street fair at Andalucia Heights, a development AMCAL built about a year ago near downtown Los Angeles. The proceeds netted by the Partnership for H.O.P.E. Community Fair and Fundraiser were comprised of a $25,000 donation from AMCAL, and $85,000 raised in advance from a wide range of corporate sponsors, including banks, tax-credit investors, management companies, subcontractors and others.

“The proceeds are being used to help the residents,” Vaz says. “For example, we awarded scholarships to children planning to attend college, provided backpacks to younger children, and provided caseworkers for some residents who are going through unusually tough life experiences.”

AMCAL and its partners chose to stage a street fair rather than a formal dinner event because they wanted as many of the proceeds as possible to benefit residents. It is hoped the Partnership for H.O.P.E. Community Fair and Fundraiser will become an annual event.

“It will probably be a yearly street fair, but the next one will likely be held at another of our AMCAL developments,” Vaz says.

The street fair featured live music, cultural dancers and booths staffed by representatives of charitable organizations. Scholarship recipients were notified in advance and had a chance to address the attendees, Vaz says.

“I think ‘delighted’ would be an understatement in describing how the scholarship recipients reacted,” he adds. “All said they didn’t think college would be possible, and that it was a dream come true. One recipient is the mother of two young kids, and in her talk, she said she couldn’t afford college, but noted that the scholarship would help out tremendously.”

Beth Southorn, executive director of LifeSTEPS, reports the Partnership for H.O.P.E Community Fair and Fundraiser was “an inspiring testament” to the work of LifeSTEPS, AMCAL and partners in assisting deserving residents. “I know we will continue to help people pursue and attain their dreams,” she says.

Added Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes: “I salute the efforts of AMCAL and LifeSTEPS, and all the people who expressed their solidarity at Andalucia Heights. The event proves that our community can unite for a noble cause, which gives citizens a chance to improve their lives and enjoy safe, affordable housing. The Partnership for H.O.P.E. gives us all a renewed sense of hope in our communities.”