The Lodi City Council is moving forward with the Harmony Homes Project, previously known as the Tiny Homes Project, which will provide permanent supportive housing units to vetted individuals or families.
First, the Lodi City Council unanimously approved an amendment to their Permanent Local Housing Allocation (PLHA) Program agreement during a regular meeting on January 6, 2021. This amendment allowed the City to take the first year’s Permanent Local Housing Allocation (estimated at $336,265) and use it for the Harmony Homes Project. Lodi is expected to receive approximately $2,017,590 over the next five years from the Permanent Local Housing Allocation (PLHA) Program, which the City had planned to use for predevelopment costs of a navigation center.
During this regular meeting, the City Council was introduced to Jennifer Rhyne, the new Neighborhood Services Manager. She provided information on the PLHA Program and the Harmony Homes Project, which is outlined in this article.
Directly after the regular meeting, a special meeting started where the Lodi City Council unanimously approved a purchase agreement for the property of the future Harmony Homes Project. The final location is set for 301 East Lodi Avenue, which the City Council had decided and approved during a previous meeting on December 2, 2020 (Resolution 2020-295).
The city is now entering into an agreement with the San Joaquin Housing Authority to develop four “permanent supportive” housing units for vetted homeless individuals or families. Each housing unit is expected to be 500-650 square feet with running water, wastewater, and electricity. It will be professionally landscaped to ensure there is no blight on the community, and the property will be professionally managed by the San Joaquin Housing Authority.
The individuals who will live in these units must receive referrals from The Salvation Army, Lodi House, and Women’s Center Youth and Family Services, as well as the Housing Authority of the County of San Joaquin (HACSJ). The residents must also sign lease agreements with the SJ Housing Authority to maintain the property, ensure they are not a nuisance, and pay 30% of their monthly income, while the rest will be subsidized by federal housing choice vouchers which can be used at other properties.
The location of the Harmony Homes Project has been hotly debated and surrounded by misinformation over the past two years. The goal is to build these housing units close enough to the services currently available for homeless individuals in Lodi. It is not a homeless shelter or camp. Each applicant will be vetted before they can live in a unit.
Council Member Shak Khan echoed concerns over the Harmony Homes Project, saying many in Lodi were outspoken during the election. Lodi Community Development Director John Della Monica then stated he had walked the neighborhood and conducted in-person surveys to tenants of both residential and commercial properties within 500-1000 feet from the final location of the Harmony Homes Project (301 East Lodi Avenue). Mr. Della Monica stated that there was overwhelming support for the project after people were informed about the details of the project, and most believe it is a step forward for our community.
Although these are permanent housing units, meaning the residents will have no timeline imposed on them before they must move, the hope is that these units will act as transitional housing and a foundation for individuals or families to move onto something better. The federal housing vouchers used in the Harmony Homes can be taken with them, but not all property owners will accept them.