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Affordable housing project shows new approach to growing problem

A new affordable housing project in Bakersfield is an attempt to tackle two city issues at once.

Golden Empire Affordable Housing Inc. partnered with the Housing Authority of the County of Kern to open 12 units of affordable housing on L Street.

The partnership is a unique take on the construction of new affordable units. It starts a new program called the Affordable Housing Infill Program, which builds "cottage style" units on previously vacant lots throughout the city.

The L Street location is the first of an eventual planned 28-unit project. Each unit will feature one bedroom, with vinyl plank wood flooring, granite counter tops, a refrigerator, dishwasher and stove.

Rental rates are $500 or more below market rent, according to a news release.

“This is a small but important step in helping meet the tremendous unmet need for affordable housing in our community," Stephen Pelz, executive director of Golden Empire Affordable Housing and the housing authority, said in the release.

The new venture is meant to cut down on the lack of affordable housing within Bakersfield and the rest of the state. The city of Bakersfield and Citizens Business Bank financed the project.

A ribbon-cutting was hosted on Wednesday, featuring local elected officials and family members who had just signed leases for their new homes.