National CORE, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit affordable housing developers, has named Riverside County as its 2023 Community Partner of the Year in recognition of the county’s deep and abiding commitment to serving residents in need.
The announcement comes as National CORE approaches its highly anticipated 2023 An Evening of Hope Gala benefiting the Hope through Housing Foundation, which delivers services to residents of National CORE’s affordable living communities.
National CORE has established nine developments in Riverside County totaling 922 apartment homes – about a 10th of its nationwide portfolio. Affordable housing developments in the works are expected to add about 300 more apartment homes.
“We are thrilled to announce Riverside County as our 2023 Community Partner of the Year,” said Alexa Washburn, National CORE’s senior vice president of acquisitions and forward planning. “Riverside County shares our mission to create much-needed affordable housing in service to our community. It’s a rare and treasured relationship founded on years of trust.”
Washburn praised leadership on Riverside County’s Board of Supervisors, the Department of Housing and Workforce Solutions, Riverside University Health Systems, Planning Department and Public Works Department. The entities are all aligned with the county’s goal to develop high-quality affordable housing and work seamlessly with National CORE on its developments, she said.
National CORE collaborated with Riverside County and Cathedral City to renovate Cathedral Palms, a 224-home senior development acquired by the developer in 1996. Riverside County was a key partner in achieving the rehabilitation, which had been stalled by limited financing options and the state’s elimination of redevelopment agencies.
In 2019, the renovation took a major step forward when Riverside County was awarded $7.8 million from California’s No Place Like Home program and, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was able to allocate critical HUD Section 8 Project Based Vouchers to significantly reduce the rent burden for formerly homeless and very low-income senior residents. At Cathedral Palms, 68 homes are reserved for seniors who have experienced homelessness.
“Riverside County continues to work hard to meet the needs of all residents, no matter their age or income,” Riverside County Third District Supervisor Chuck Washington said. “This project is the result of collaboration between private and public partners like National CORE, and the Boys & Girls Club coming together to meet the housing needs of our residents.”
National CORE’s next development to open will be Vista de La Sierra in Riverside, which will provide 80 homes for low-income families, including 39 for those who have experienced homelessness.
A.J. Galka, National CORE’s director of resident services & permanent supportive housing, also praised Riverside University Health System, which provides behavioral health services to county residents, for its strong collaboration with National CORE property management and Hope through Housing to ensure seamless delivery of services.
“Our relationship with Riverside Health is pivotal,” Galka said.
Dr. Matthew Chang is the behavioral health director of Riverside University Health System.
“At Riverside University Health System, our mission is to holistically serve the diverse communities of Riverside County in both health and overall well-being, similar to the way National CORE is dedicated to creating thriving communities beyond just brick and mortar,” Chang said. “Our collaboration reflects a shared ambition to promote wellness, security and prosperity among residents of our region. This Community Partner of the Year award is more than a recognition; it’s a testament to the powerful synergy we’ve created between quality housing and comprehensive behavioral health care. Together, we envision resilient, healthy and hopeful communities.”
Innovation is a long-time hallmark of National CORE’s approach to affordable housing – and the Housing Authority of the County of Riverside has been a partner throughout the journey.
National CORE’s Vista Dunes development, which opened in 2008 in La Quinta, is the nation’s first multifamily affordable housing development to earn LEED for Homes Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
National CORE’s latest development, Oak View Ranch, broke ground earlier this year on the first of two phases. Phase one will bring 119 family apartments to downtown Murrieta; phase two will add 81 senior apartments. The development will feature a swimming pool, children’s play area, half-basketball court, walkways with fitness stations, a community garden and a community center with a designated space for the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest County to provide after-school and out-of-school programs for children and teens.
“The County Department of Housing and Workforce Solutions is honored by this recognition. Our commitment is to serve the residents of Riverside County by providing much needed housing of the highest possible quality,” Director Heidi Marshall said. “National CORE has been a valued partner in this mission — and we expect the organization to continue to be a significant collaborator in the years to come.”
Riverside County will be honored on Thursday, October 5 at this year’s An Evening of Hope Gala. Additional awards include the Volunteer Group of the Year – Women of Hope; the I Am Hope Award – Arlene Ortiz; and the Daniel R. Fauske Founders’ Award – G. Allan Kingston.
The gala – themed “What Would This World Do Without You?” – will be held under the stars at National CORE’s new corporate office. It will be a night of amazing stories, live entertainment, delicious foods and drinks and special recognitions. To join us as we celebrate the many donors, partners and volunteers who make our work possible, please visit hthf.org or contact Daisy Macias at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEDIA: Watch a video announcement of the award on our YouTube channel.
RELATED: Women of Hope named 2023 Volunteer Group of the Year.