Idaho nonprofit brings affordable housing to Caldwell — with more projects in the pipeline
Sunset Landing Apartments include 76 units of workforce and family housing in new development
Sunset Landing Apartments is a 76-unit complex that consists of one-, two- and three-bedroom units for people and families who earn up to 60% of area median income. (Mia Maldonado / Idaho Capital Sun)
In its grand opening Tuesday, the Housing Company and its community partners unveiled new affordable housing developments for Caldwell workers and families at Sunset Landing Apartments.
The Housing Company, an Idaho nonprofit whose goal is to preserve affordable housing developments, partnered with the Idaho Housing and Finance to address the housing needs of Canyon County.
The 76-unit apartment complex consists of one-, two- and three-bedroom units for people and families who earn up to 60% of area median income.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Caldwell median income for a one-person household is $59,795. A person making 60% of that, or $39,877, would qualify for the housing.
Erin Anderson, director of the Housing Company, said at a press conference Tuesday that the Low Income Housing Tax Credit is the primary source of financing for the apartment complex. The tax credit allows private partners to invest in affordable housing in a way that keeps the apartment’s rent prices below market rates for the next 30 years.
“When I started working on this project three years ago, the people in Caldwell were really just starting to feel the housing affordability crunch,” she said. “And since then, it’s only gotten a lot worse.”
Anderson told the Idaho Capital Sun that the nonprofit’s affordable housing projects are geared toward helping people who work lower wage jobs.
Sunset Landing Apartments is the latest affordable housing development the nonprofit has completed since Canyon Terrace Apartments in Nampa last year. Anderson said the nonprofit is starting three additional affordable housing projects in Nampa, Meridian and Twin Falls.
‘A happy worker is a productive worker’: Caldwell housing leaders discuss need for workforce housing
At the press conference, Caldwell Mayor Jarom Wagoner said he used to work as a planner for the city and understands the need for affordable housing for the local workforce.
“There’s such a need right now to provide this type of housing,” he said. “The affordability a few years ago was bad, and it’s just gotten that much worse with today’s economy.”
Nearly each unit has already been filled at Sunset Landing Apartments, with tenants including single adults and working families and their children.
Mike Dittenber, the director of the Caldwell Housing Authority, is a longtime Caldwell resident who has worked in the affordable housing industry for 23 years.
“I’ve never seen it like this before,” he told the Idaho Capital Sun in an interview Thursday. “The people who are really struggling to find housing are those people in the workforce.”
Dittenber has worked at the housing authority for almost 17 years, where he oversees tenants at the authority’s rental complex, Farmway Village. At the complex, tenants pay 20% to 50% less than the local market rate, according to the authority’s website.
Dittenber said he believes young people are struggling the most to find affordable housing. People between ages 18 and 35 are the greatest number of applicants who apply to live at Farmway Village, he said.
Dittenber said developments like Sunset Landing Apartments can help improve the workforce.
“I believe that there is a link between people being housing insecure, and the loss of productivity. I have had employees who have worked with me come to me in tears and say, ‘I am so sorry that I haven’t been more productive, but I just can’t get my mind off the fact that I have to move.’”
– Mike Dittenber, Caldwell Housing Authority director
While Caldwell has attracted more developers who build housing to lease at market rate, Dittenber said providing more affordable housing options is the key to helping the city’s economy.
“Think about a schoolteacher who is stressed about not having housing that might lash out and lose their career, or a hospital worker who administered a wrong dose of medication, or even a construction worker who forgot to follow a simple safety procedure that causes an accident,” he said. “A happy worker is a productive worker.”
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