Riverside County officials vote to help rehab fire-damaged affordable housing complex

Nightingale Manor, a building that previously housed several affordable housing units, was damaged in a June 2021 fire. The property can also be used as transitional housing to help unhoused people.
This apartment complex off De Anza Avenue was damaged in a fire in 2021, taking crucial affordable housing offline. Riverside County officials voted Tuesday to help bring the property back up to code.

Roughly 19 months after it was damaged in a fire, one piece to the puzzle that is affordable housing in Palm Springs is on its way to being returned to duty.

On Tuesday, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved about $250,000 for the rehabilitation of Nightingale Manor, a De Anza Road building that previously housed several affordable housing units. The property, which can also be used as transitional housing to help unhoused people, was damaged in a fire in June 2021. 

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During the blaze, several units were made uninhabitable, and there was also structural damage to the building. One person inside the building was hurt, but not seriously. No official cause for the fire has been released.

The $250,000 contract is with the Palm Springs-based Belfor USA Group contractor, who will bring the structure back up to code. The facility is owned by Riverside County and leased by the nonprofit Jewish Family Services. The county’s insurer will be covering the costs of the repairs. 

Every affordable housing unit is precious to renters and people looking to live in Palm Springs, and when these units come back online, they will add to the roughly 1,600 affordable units currently available in the city. Some of those 1,600 units are restricted to seniors and people with disabilities. 

There are about 36,000 total units of housing in the city. Between 2010 and 2020, the city averaged 250 new units built annually, and 85 percent of those units were single-family detached units. The lack of affordable housing drives up the cost of rent, which doubled over the last seven years. The average monthly rent in the city is above $2,000 according to Zillow.

There is some reason for hope. Valley-wide groups like Lift to Rise are committed to helping build 10,000 new affordable housing units by 2028. Currently, there are about 4,500 units of affordable housing that are in the planning stages or being constructed. 

In Palm Springs, construction at The Monarch Apartments at San Rafael and Indian Canyon is well underway, as is work on the Vista Sunrise II project off Sunrise Way. When the Aloe Palm Canyon project follows, a total of 190 new units will be the first affordable housing built in the city in more than a decade.

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