As housing costs in Oroville, California continue to rise and compete with recent wildfires, inflation, and job losses due to the pandemic, the search for an affordable place to live is becoming vastly more difficult.

Low-income veterans are being struck hard by Oroville’s housing crisis. Instead of enjoying the benefits they’ve earned for their service and sacrifice, thousands are being displaced out of their homes and onto the streets. Rent spikes are increasing and the housing market is yielding a high demand with limited supply. Many veterans are struggling to put food on the table and keep the lights on, especially those with low-paying jobs or no employment at all. Health issues and disabilities compound financial challenges and make navigating a housing crisis feel like an impossible barrier to overcome.

City of Oroville Steps Up with Affordable Housing Solutions

The City of Oroville is determined to alleviate this crisis and put veterans into stable homes. One recent display of this dedication is the $1.75 Million loan it awarded the Veterans Housing Development Corporation (VHDC), a subsidiary of Nation’s Finest, to build new permanent supportive housing units for military veterans and their families.

The loan will not only fund construction costs for the housing project, but also predevelopment which includes environmental studies, engineering studies, and design planning.

“We’re honored to receive this loan and continue to chip away at what we know is a huge need for veterans in Oroville,” says Brad Long, Executive Director of VHDC and a U.S. Navy Veteran. “Many of them are living in campers and RVs. It used to be Paradise, California that was known for having affordable housing, but Paradise was wiped off the map by wildfires. That leaves Oroville with significant pressure to find housing solutions low-income veterans can afford, and that’s why Nation’s Finest wants to help,” says Long.

“The City of Oroville is honored to be in a position to partner with VHDC to provide affordable housing to our veterans,” says Amy Bergstrand, Director of Business Assistance and Housing Development. Veterans have put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms that we all enjoy, and they deserve to be recognized and provided safe, affordable housing.”

Looking Ahead

With the City of Oroville currently evaluating additional funding sources for the project, all parties involved hope to commence construction in 2023. The City has already donated the land to build on and provided former Redevelopment Agency Housing Set-Aside (RDA) funding to invest in the community.

The development of the units will be similar to what VHDC has already established in California—Windsor Veterans Village, Mather Veterans Village, and Eureka Veterans Village—which provide critical support such as case management, employment assistance, and health services in addition to housing. Together, the villages and the transitional housing that is also offered by Nation’s Finest encompass over 300 units of housing support for veterans and their families, with more on the way.

At the new units to be constructed with the City of Oroville’s $1.75 million loan, qualifying residents will be able to work with case managers to enroll in programs that will help them save money, recover from substance abuse issues, find meaningful employment, and build self-sufficiency in other areas of their lives. Together, these projects and housing initiatives are working to combat Oroville’s housing crisis and place veterans into better living conditions that will support their wellbeing and provide long-term stability.

VHDC and Nation’s Finest have also been working with the City of Oroville, American Red Cross, CalVet, and local contractors on a different project in Oroville to provide decent, safe, and sanitary single-family homes for qualified veterans to purchase. The Oroville Housing Project consists of two phases aiming to meet the needs of veterans who have been impacted by recent wildfires in Shasta County. Phase One will rehabilitate and remodel a number of local two-bed, one-bath homes while Phase Two will construct 12 brand new townhomes of varying sizes with a designated garage and off-street parking.

A Commitment to Veterans

 Since 1972, Nation’s Finest has been helping veterans and their families reach their full potential. While VHDC focuses exclusively on developing affordable housing, Nation’s Finest embraces a comprehensive approach to housing, health, and employment that aims to improve the lives of those who have served our country.

“This generous loan from the City of Oroville will allow us to reach more veterans in need across rural areas where support is limited. We are excited to expand our footprint, and with the City’s help, we will be able to connect even more veterans at risk of homelessness with programs and services that can change their lives,” says Chris Johnson, President and CEO of Nation’s Finest.

Once complete, the affordable housing units will quickly begin accepting low-income veterans and providing critical supportive services. The loan monies provided by the City of Oroville to VHDC will open the door to new housing opportunities for veterans aimed at putting a dent in Oroville’s housing crisis.

More about VHDC

To learn more about VHDC and its mission to prevent homelessness and provide homes for veterans, click here.