Because Carlos Rodriguez grew up in Fontana, he has a sense of pride in this city, and this pride was bolstered by the news that Fontana is receiving a state grant to help alleviate the housing crisis.
Rodriguez, who is now the CEO of the Building Industry Association (BIA) Southern California Baldy View Chapter, was one of the speakers during a press conference which celebrated a $625,000 Housing and Community Development grant.
Rodriguez and the other speakers at the Sept. 24 event said the grant is a step in the right direction as cities throughout California try to come up with ways to address the lack of affordable housing, which has contributed to a rise in homelessness. He noted that San Bernardino County is short about 70,000 housing units.
"The good news is that as we work together to address this crisis, there is a potential of seven new jobs for every new home that we build, and an estimated economic impact countywide of $2 billion if we address the housing shortage in San Bernardino County," Rodriguez said.
Mayor Acquanetta Warren said the "affordability challenges are massive, but they can be taken care of" because the city has a "whatever it takes, we're willing to do" attitude.
"We are going to use this grant to address the housing crisis, beginning with downtown Fontana. The City of Fontana is a working-class community that understands the importance of providing housing options for all working-family budgets," Warren said.
Last year, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared that 1.3 million new housing units need to be built in Southern California during the next decade.
Fontana is making the necessary preparations by updating its zoning and development code, expediting the local planning permit process, and preparing a comprehensive environmental document that will eliminate project-specific environmental reviews, the city said. These actions will assist in creating a process faster and more efficient for developers to invest and revitalize the downtown area, the city said.
The Sierra Avenue corridor in downtown Fontana is an opportunity zone designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury, and through independent investors and developers, has the opportunity to spur economic development and revitalize the area.
New Legacy Development is currently planning a huge downtown project which will include a five-story residential building on the northwest corner of Arrow Boulevard and Nuevo Avenue.
"We are much looking forward to what the future has in store for downtown Fontana. We have multiple projects in the works now and more to come," said New Legacy Development President Jose Carcelen.