Affordable Housing in Claremont


Planned structure for affordable housing in Claremont image courtsey of the Daily Bulletin

Claremont has long been known for its liberal ideals — or at least that is the consensus. However, many Claremont residents feel few moves have been made to fit these supposed ideals. Many hope that change is to come to many of Claremont’s policies. Low and behold, a long-awaited change has come. While the city of Claremont has little affordable housing, the Larkin Park low-income housing unit has come out of the blue for residents looking for a cost-friendly place to live. This is big news for Claremont as the city is starting to make moves striving toward affordable living for all its residents, even loaning 1.5 million dollars to the developer of the project, Jamboree House Corporation.

The building, resembling an apartment, is planned to be constructed of four stories, able to house 37-87 people with 33 units of housing space. This permanent housing addition will be built in a now-empty lot next to Larkin Park — next to El Roble Intermediate and the Claremont Joslyn Senior Center. The spacious plot of shrub and dirt-filled land is to be home to 23 bedroom units, as well as facilities such as a community room and kitchen, laundry room, and an outdoor barbeque. In addition to those resources, on-site staff of resident services will be at the ready to ensure residents are safe at all times.

The Larkin Park low-income housing project is to provide a home to formerly houseless people in Claremont who earn at or less than 30% of the area median income.

The issue with opposers of the housing project appears to be the location. Their concern with the living space is its proximity to vulnerable communities such as the elderly and youth. Citing the high rate of mental illness and drug addiction that is likely to appear within the resident population, most concerns focused on how the new residents will impact their community.

On April 7th, Jamboree Housing Corporation held a meeting with local Claremont residents to gain an inside ear on their opinions of the development. Some 200 residents showed up to the meeting to discuss their concerns. The meeting eventually became rambunctious, and at times Jamboree Housing Corporation lost control of the direction of the meeting. Overall, residents’ opinions were polarizing. Among the sea of opposition, there remained those who were stark advocates for the housing project.

Separate from the meeting, Claremont high school junior, Paolo Estrella voiced his support for the project and addressed some of his concerns.

“This housing project is a great idea. Providing homes for people who need it most is always a plus and benefits this community in so many ways,” said Estrella. “My only concern for this project is its potential for future ghettoization. I do not want to see low-income housing in Claremont bastardized”. In order words, Estrella is hoping marginalized groups of people are not clumped together in low-income housing as they have been in so many other cities across the United States

For Claremont’s diversely opinionated community, it will be interesting to see how the Larkin Park low-income housing project turns out in the coming years. Its effect on the community and surrounding area is sure to be noticed soon after development.