Village East Grand Opening Celebration in Stockton
The City of Stockton celebrated the grand reopening of Village East Apartments on June 30. The event marked a positive step forward for 190 families who call Village East home and the broader East Stockton neighborhood characterized by limited and dilapidated housing stock. The community underwent a substantial rehabilitation, including gutting and replacing apartment interiors, an exterior facelift and the installation of new and needed features, including a playground and brand-new community center.
The original Village East development was built in 1964 and had receive little attention in recent years until the John Stewart Company and Affordable Housing CDC worked together to acquire and rehabilitate the property in addition to providing affordability restrictions to help protect and ensure residents are able to remain in their housing. Enterprise Community Investment provided $7.3 million in housing credit equity to Village East and joined community stakeholders and residents to celebrate the reopening.
Speakers included Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs who praised Village East as an opportunity for its “residents to live with dignity” and outlined other steps the City of Stockton is taking to help push back against the local housing crisis. Ashell Harris, a service provider with LifeSTEPS, discussed the on-site services such as after-school programming for children and fitness and other engagement programs now available to residents thanks to the creation of the new community center.
Perhaps the most powerful speaker of the day was current resident Juanita Hall. Hall reflected on a reality that affects too many of Stockton’s residents – her personal experience with housing insecurity. She described the damage it wrought on her as she was forced to choose between life’s basic necessities and the fear she felt as a woman sleeping alone in her vehicle for nights on end. Her life began to turn around when she was extended an invitation to become a Village East Resident. Hall described the joy she finds in walking around her new home each morning greeting residents and staff, and in hearing the sound of children enjoying the new playground.
After Hall relayed her story and her hope for the future, she joined the Mayor, staff from John Stewart Company, LifeSTEPs and Enterprise to help cut a ceremonial ribbon marking the official reopening of all 190 units. Enterprise is proud to have contributed to the rehabilitation of Village East Apartments.