– Communities and housing authorities throughout the United States undertake neighborhood rehabilitation projects to address housing and community-related problems while making best use of available resources.
In the Good Works feature of the Journal of Housing and Community Development, NAHRO showcases examples of development projects that have been particularly successful in building communities. Every project featured has received HUD funding or is affiliated or working in partnership with HUD or a public housing authority.

El Paseo, a public/private venture of 190 single-family homes in Oxnard, California, has been presented the nation's highest affordable housing award by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Only three projects nationally, including El Paseo, received HUD's platinum award. The development, surrounded on three sides by market-rate residential subdivisions, provided low-income families an opportunity to purchase quality homes in a quality neighborhood at affordable prices.

To increase awareness of the El Paseo project among Oxnard's low income community, 50 community based organizations distributed 200 posters and 30,000 flyers advising residents of three informational assemblies. Nearly 3,500 families attended the assemblies. Applications were taken on a first-come, firstserved basis, with Oxnard residents having priority. The developer, Community Dynamics, Inc., broke ground in March 1999, and the last 40 of the190 units are now sold and under construction.

El Paseo features attractive, singlefamily detached homes, ranging in size from 1,100 to 1,500 square feet with prices that started in $90,000 range. The homes incorporate extremely cost-effective design and value engineering. Although smaller than a traditional detached home, the two-story, three-and fourbedroom feature efficient circulation, raised ceilings, open floor plans, and strong visual and physical relationships to the outdoors, allowing a spacious indoor living experience. "We believe public/private neighborhoods such as El Paseo can be an integral part of the affordable housing solution in California, "said Loren Bloch, president of Community Dynamics. Bloch said El Paseo's success is built on the collaboration of community organizations including the City of Oxnard City Council, Neighborhood Housing Services of America, Cabrillo Economic Development Corp., Federal Home Loan Bank, Community Lending Bank, and others. Bank of America, which provided approximately 50 percent of the first mortages for the project, also played a key role.

The National Association of Home Builders in Atlanta presented HUD's Platinum Award to the El Paseo neighborhood at the Best in American Living Awards. Said Oxnard Mayor Manuel Lopez, who accepted the HUD award on behalf of the city, "Our city, along with the developers, community organizations, financial institutions, and other stakeholders, worked long and hard to make El Paseo happen. Without this neighborhood, most, if not all, of the El Paseo homeowners would still be renters without any prospect for ever owning a home." El Paseo was further honored as the sole recipient of the Judges' Special Award for Excellence in Community Marketing.
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