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02.20.08

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Creating a Heritage

By Gretchen Giles


Heritage Community Housing executive director Cesar Delgado knows the difference between a house and a home. One can be just shelter; the other, a spot to find refuge, make plans, look ahead and even dream. A home is also the basis for the next generation. "Just getting kids to bed at a regular time each night makes such a difference in a family," he says during a visit to the Bohemian offices on a recent rainy morning.

Partnering with the city of Santa Rosa, Delgado's nonprofit is set to open its newest civic collaboration in affordable housing on Feb. 28. Called the Crossings, this 48-unit complex offers two- and three-bedroom apartments to working families at rents ranging from $685 to $1,100, depending on income and family size.

Specializing in converting apartments to condo units for the elderly and for growing families, Heritage has established seven such communities already in California. The Crossings is its newest project, a complex that features a community room, a shared computer facility with four machines, a "tot spot" for outdoor play and even a picnic/barbecue area.

But Delgado is not content with merely providing houses for North Bay families; he really wants to help provide homes. To that end, the Crossings will offer educational seminars on everything from parenting techniques to family healthcare to nutrition to finance. Sporting events will be organized in the community room and a mentoring program will be established. All applicants must undergo a deep screening process and are on a month-to-month rental contract. There will be a reason to want to stay there and prompt response if tenants breach the rules.

Delgado himself lives in a two-bedroom condo with his wife and three sons. He knows firsthand what it's like to have a growing family in tight environs. "A project like this gives a feeling of hope," he says simply. "We're giving families a chance to look forward to the future."

The Crossings grand opening is slated for Thursday, Feb. 28, from 11am to 1pm. 820 Jennings Ave., at Armory Drive, near the Coddingtown Mall, Santa Rosa. For details, call 714.835.3955., ext. 120.

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