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Bakersfield City Council puts $418K Measure N money towards affordable housing

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Bakersfield, Calif. (KBAK/FOX58) — Ward 2 City Councilman for the city of Bakersfield, Andrae Gonzales said right now there's over 966 affordable housing units the city either has constructed, is constructing or will work on.

As of the end of April, the city of Bakersfield has 166 new units of affordable housing that have been completed, 282 units of housing that are currently under construction, and 518 units that are in the pre-development stage.

On top of that is what the city council voted for Wednesday night: $418,000 from Measure N, one percent sales tax money to go towards the conversion of Kerntown Motel in Old Town Kern into an affordable housing complex.

"With this property, it was one that we see as a priority for continuing our efforts to reinvest in Old Town Kern and so with this particular structure with the funding model that we're looking at we identify this property as one that is aligned with that vision and that investment," Jason Cater, Economic and Community Development Manager for the City of Bakersfield said.

Gonzales said the costs of living continue to escalate.

"The challenge is we have a number of people who still are in need of affordable housing and we know that this impacts homelessness, this impacts many individuals, families who are living with one another, multiple generations living in one household Andrae Gonzales," Vice Mayor of the City of Bakersfield said.

He hopes it will be at least 28 units, which is what is currently in the motel.

Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation has agreed to do the predevelopment work for the affordable housing unit.

"We're trying to identify particular developers who are willing to come to Bakersfield, come to our area, and actually build more housing," Gonzales said. "That is one of the issues that has caused us some sort of bottleneck."

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Eyewitness News spoke to small business owners in the area who say they did not know the city was even considering this, because the city did not approach them. They say=id there is already a security issue in the area, so much so that they've had to pay for weekly security. They said they thought the one percent Measure N sales tax money was going to include security.

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