The Woodlands Apartment Complex

The Woodlands is a 75-unit apartment complex, located on Polk and Ellis Streets in Redding, that was built by the HHSA and its partners. About 140 people currently live there, and the apartments are affordable for low-income residents.

Twenty-nine of the apartments are dedicated for eligible HHSA clients who have a severe mental health challenge (or children with serious emotional disturbance). They also must be homeless or be at risk of homelessness to qualify to live there.Outside the Woodlands

To help tenants adjust to having a stable home, a case manager and peer support specialist work on site. A variety of classes are offered to help provide support and build community so tenants can maintain wellness and their recovery.

How was the community involved in the creation of the Woodlands?

The development of the Woodlands took five years and was funded by the Mental Health Services Act, a tax on millionaires. HHSA staff then held many meetings to gather the community’s input, and these meetings led to the idea of a permanent housing complex.

Northern Valley Catholic Social Service and Palm Communities submitted a proposal, HHSA got input from the stakeholders on the plan, and feedback plan was generally very positive.

Why may the Woodlands appear to cost more than privately-owned apartment complexes?

A low-income affordable housing project is one of the most expensive types of housing to build. The project needs to meet all the design and development standards of the city. In addition, there are rent subsidies to make it an affordable housing complex for low-income residents.

There are about 20 years’ worth of funds that help cover the cost for people with severe mental illness or families with children with a severe emotional disturbance for the 29 units set aside for that population. That, as well as on-site support services, add to the cost.  

Why is it worth the investment?

There’s a great cost to the community when individuals are homeless. They are at high risk of being assaulted and having injuries or illnesses that need medical attention. They’re likely to be victims of crimes. There’s trash that accumulates and needs to be cleaned up. There can be dangers from cooking fires and other problems. 

If we invest in people who are at high risk of homelessness, we make their lives better and save the community money in the long run.

Why did HHSA invest in permanent and affordable housing?

Several HHSA programs provide rent and other support to help people at-risk of homelessness find homes in private rental properties.

However, sometimes people living without on-site support services struggle with their mental illness. They can become isolated or may struggle to get along with neighbors.

Also, it’s possible a landlord may decide they no longer want to work with people who have those struggles.

A complex like the Woodlands is a secure, long-term housing solution. NVCSS has a great track record of developing housing for this population. They’ve developed methods for working with their tenants to make sure they can be good neighbors and continue paying their rent.

In addition, we have case management on site, classes, workshops and special activities to help build a sense of community among the tenants.

How does stable and affordable housing help someone suffering from mental illness?

About a third of people living on the street have a mental illness. It’s very difficult to recover from a mental illness or substance use disorder when living on the street. Being homeless is stressful.

Having a stable home can make all the difference. It can help people not only become well, but reach a position where they can volunteer in the community, become employed and go back to school.

Our goal is for every person at the Woodlands to live their lives to the fullest and contribute to our community.