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On June 10th, the application opened for housing at Casa Arabella, the 94-unit building under construction at the Fruitvale Village, close to the BART station. People who were interested in getting a 1, 2, or 3-bedroom apartment for themselves and their families had only seven short days to apply. The process of applying to affordable housing can be confusing, and was only available online. “Finding housing can be could be very stressful but we were equipped to make sure the process as smooth as possible,” says Emmanuel Sanchez, Housing Access Coordinator at The Unity Council.

Volunteers and TUC staff opened up the Fruitvale-San Antonio Senior Center from June 10 – June 17 to assist applicants with translating and filling out the online application, and at times, signing them up for with emails for the very first time.  

The on-site assistance addressed any barriers due to language, or accessibility to computers. More than 200 people were assisted. “A lot of the clients seen were on fixed income or paying little rent. Others came sense of urgency because they were either homeless or chronically homeless.” Though many came to apply for Casa Arabella, many were pleasantly surprised to find out they were also able to apply for Camino 23, affordable housing units available this November in the nearby San Antonio neighborhood. TUC staff and volunteers helped them apply to both, which doubles their chances of securing an apartment in the near future.

Nearly 4,000 applications were received for Casa Arabella over the seven day period, and there are only 94-units available. Applications are now sorted by eligibility to weed out anyone who applied but was ineligible due to income, and the remaining eligible applications will be part of a lottery system. Applicants will be contacted in the next few months to verify their eligibility, family size, and income. The building will be fully leased to occupants by the end of this year.