Midtown Building Overhauled to Have Affordable, Low-Income Housing

SACRAMENTO -- A ribbon cutting is usually reserved for the grand opening of a new facility but city and housing officials, along with tenants, celebrated the completion of a major overhaul of the Pensione K apartment complex on Wednesday.

Built in 1996, the 129 mostly single occupancy studio apartments were getting a bit shopworn.

Development partners Barone Galasso and Associates, Inc. and Pacific Housing, Inc. made the unusual move of spending $9 million to overhaul the low-income complex.

It extends the operational life of the badly needed housing units in midtown Sacramento for 20 to 30 years.

The last thing the city needs is to lose affordable housing stock for low-income workers and retirees who want to live in the city center. Most of the new housing being built is expensive.

"If we only focus on market-rate housing then we don’t have housing for the people who work here, workforce housing and also seniors who want to live and be a part of our downtown core,” said La Shelle Dozier, executive director of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.

Tenants, like Sandy Powell, qualify for a small studio unit by earning 60 percent or less of the area’s median income. The retiree once had to live in a motel and other, more expensive housing zapped her bank account.

She now pays less than $550 a month for rent in an updated unit with new amenities.

"I absolutely feel lucky. I’ve lived at other places that I would not recommend to anyone," Powell said.

Still, building more affordable housing units in the city where rent is constantly rising is a challenge.

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