ORANGE : Villa Santiago Tenants Get Relocation Update


Consultants began knocking on doors at the Villa Santiago Apartments this week to update the complex’s 1,000 residents on a massive relocation plan that is to begin next month.

No one commented at the City Council’s public hearing Tuesday on Orange’s role in the $27-million rehabilitation of the dilapidated apartments off Prospect Street.

The Fair Housing Council of Orange County submitted a letter, however, asking to be kept up to date on the relocation plan.


“One of our concerns is that potentially some of the people being displaced now be allowed to come back after the rehabilitation--that it not be used as a means of cleansing,” Elizabeth Martin, the council’s staff attorney, said Wednesday.

Martin said the council investigated a flurry of eviction notices to the largely Latino residents and found that those appear to have stopped.

The city is contributing $7.5 million to the renovation, and city officials agreed to share the relocation cost if it exceeds the $4.5 million allotted.

The city will act as a conduit for $13.5 million in mortgage revenue bonds. Community Development Director Jack McGee told the council that the bonds have been guaranteed by financial institutions and that “the city is not at risk for this $13.5 million.”

The project will turn the two-bedroom units into affordable apartments renting at $762 a month.

Officials with Cleveland-based Forest City Properties Corp., which is buying the 260-unit complex, said they expect escrow to close Sept. 27.