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Canoga Park : Panel Backs Funding for Women’s Shelter

The City Council’s Housing and Community Redevelopment Committee backed a $242,000 no-interest loan Tuesday to fund Haven Hills’ “transitional housing” project, a long-term, low-rent apartment complex for battered women and their children.

The battered women’s shelter requested the loan to supplement earlier funds for the rehabilitation of a red-tagged apartment building in Canoga Park.

The “transitional housing” project will consist of 26 low-rent apartments, at an undisclosed site, for battered women and their children. The building, scheduled to open in May, will also provide a child-care program and psychological counseling.

If approved by the full council next week, this loan would bring the city’s involvement in the project to about $1.44 million from emergency earthquake funds. The total development will cost about $2.4 million, with the remaining funds coming from federal housing tax credits.

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“The [city] loan will make up the difference in increased rehabilitation costs resulting from vandalism to the building” and from unanticipated seismic repair costs, according to Haven Hills Executive Director Betty Fisher.

The Haven Hills crisis shelter offers only 36 beds for up to 30 days, which is “simply not enough time for women to get information and the strength necessary to transition into a violence-free life,” Fisher said.

The transitional housing complex provides access to schools, supermarkets and public transit. It will have two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments, renting for about $270 to $475 monthly.

The project was inspired by comments from about 150 women with children who come to the Haven Hills crisis shelter in a given year.

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“When women leave the 30-day crisis shelter, their biggest concern is that they can’t make it without affordable housing,” Fisher said. “They need more time to get their lives back in order.”


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