FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – 26 new affordable apartments opened in Downtown Fresno Thursday.

The Villages at Broadway is a renovated Econo Inn, specially redesigned to help reduce homelessness and revitalize the neighborhood.

The Villages at Broadway is known as a supportive services housing development. 

That means it’s part of a larger neighborhood revitalization plan to not provide much-needed affordable housing but supportive services to assist people who have had difficulties with housing.

CEO of Fresno Housing, Tyrone Roderick Williams says The Villages provide a long-term solution. 

“Social support is so important because anyone who has been unhoused for any long period of time has really had a number of emotional setbacks. Just being unhoused can really work on their mind. And but when you look at chronic homelessness, one layered with mental illness, I mean, it is the perfect storm.  But the good news is we’ve got a host of very experienced service providers. So what’s different about this type of project is that it’s not just housing. It’s housing and hope and help through the service providers that provide mental health services, full service, workforce development training.  There is a long term commitment to the residents who live here by both the city and the county. That’s what makes the difference about projects like this,” Williams said.

The Villages at Broadway is a $15 million renovation of a decades-old downtown Econo Inn. 

“So for projects like this, we understand that our residents have little or no income. So these projects are designed for its residents to pay 30% of their income. Now, if their income is zero, then they pay nothing. Whatever their income is, 30% is what they’re asked to pay,” Williams said.

“Now, the great thing is that because of our service providers, we are looking at how to connect them to every financial resource that they are eligible for. But living in a community like this is not intended on being a financial burden.  We are here to provide help and hope, and that’s what we’re focusing on now,” Williams said.

Funding has come from private industry, government programs and corporate grants.

“How do we continue to provide more affordable housing for folks in our community?  Well, when it comes to affordable housing, Fresno housing is the leader in the city and the county. And so we are looking at every opportunity to leverage funds. That’s why our partners here today are so important. But the great news is that we’re working with the city and the county.  We’re working with the state and we’re looking at national funding opportunities. So affordable housing, we understand how big the lift is, but we are committed to leveraging every possible dollar to be able to make projects like this and so many more available,” Williams said.

Every one of these 26 units is rented while the neighboring property is undergoing the same transformation.