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Group Seeks Funds to Convert Motel

Hoping to convert a motel into affordable studio apartments, the housing group Many Mansions will ask the Thousand Oaks City Council for as much as $1.3 million Tuesday.

Coupled with a bank loan and a $1-million grant from the state, Many Mansions hopes to use the city dollars to convert the Village Inn motel on Thousand Oaks Boulevard into 60 efficiency apartments that would rent for $300 to $400 a month.

“It would fill a need for very low-income housing for those in the service and retail trades, as well as senior citizens and the disabled living on a fixed income in Thousand Oaks,” said Dan Hardy, Many Mansions’ executive director. “There’s an incredible need in the community. There are only 12 studio apartments in all of Thousand Oaks, and these people can’t afford them, let alone afford a one-bedroom [apartment].”

In all, Many Mansions expects to spend $3 million to $3.5 million to buy the property and rehabilitate it. The group intends to replace the building’s roof, convert some parking spaces into community gardens, provide access for the disabled and install kitchenettes.

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In a staff report, city Housing Services Manager Olav E. Hassel recommends that the City Council support the project and pay for the commitment with an upcoming tax-exempt housing bond issue.

Approving the funding could prove controversial, however.

Two City Councilwomen Linda Parks and Elois Zeanah, have questioned the timing of the funding request. The city just approved its housing plan--and spent millions of dollars on two other Many Mansions projects--on Jan. 20.

Many Mansions received formal notice of the state grant two days later, but it had received tentative approval hours before the housing meeting took place. Parks and Zeanah believe they should have been informed at that meeting that Many Mansions would be asking for additional funding.


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