Thousands interested in Irvine affordable housing complex as pandemic continues

County and Irvine officials gather for a ceremonial ground-breaking for an affordable housing development.
From left, Orange County Supervisor Donald Wagner, Irvine Councilman Michael Carroll, Mayor Christina Shea, Councilwoman Farrah Khan, Councilwoman Melissa Fox and Mark Asturias of the Irvine Land Trust gather for a ceremonial ground-breaking for an affordable housing development. The Salerno property is slated to open in March 2021.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

More than 6,800 people recently signed up to be considered for an affordable housing complex in Irvine, indicating a grave need for more units in Orange County as more people are struggling financially due to the pandemic economy.

The prospective residents, most from Southern California, are seeking one of the 80 units of the Salerno property, located at Nightmist and Sand Canyon Avenue, a few blocks from the Great Park and 5 Freeway.

“There is not enough affordable housing in the state of California, let alone the country,” said Mark Asturias, executive director of the Irvine Community Land Trust. “The pandemic is causing a lot of people to lose their housing and they are looking for more affordable options.”

The property has been in development for years, spearheaded by the Irvine Community Land Trust, affordable housing provider and owner of the property.

Salerno is the first large-scale, multifamily development project the trust has broken ground on since spinning off from the city as a private nonprofit in 2017.

The complex was originally slated to open in December, but has been rescheduled to March 2021 due to construction delays from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asturias said the 6,818 was by far the most people who have ever signed up for one of the trust’s complexes.

“This was an incredible show of interest that highlights just how strong the demand is for affordable housing in Irvine and all of California,” Asturias said.

The trust currently oversees three affordable housing complexes, with about 350 units. Salerno will be the trust’s fourth affordable housing location.

The trust will break ground on a housing complex for moderate-income families later this year called Native Spring.

There are currently about 1,000 affordable housing units in development in Irvine. Irvine has about 4,600 affordable housing units.

Based on a marketing requirement from the city, the trust advertised the complex from May to mid-July. An interest list was generated randomly by a computer, assigning a number to each name.

The trust will now begin contacting people on the list to make sure they fit the requirements.

Of the total units, 35 will be available for individuals earning less than 30% of the area’s median household income, which was $95,573 in 2017. That will include 15 units for veterans, 10 for the developmentally disabled and 10 for families at risk of homelessness.

Another 34 units will be available for individuals earning less than half the area’s median income, and 10 will be available for those earning less than 80%.

The property will include one-, two- and three-bedroom units, each with their own private balcony or patio, as well as a washer and dryer. Monthly rent will be as low as $550 for a one-bedroom, $625 for a two-bedroom and $695 for a three-bedroom.

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