Many Mansions honors 24 recipients of scholarship grants

Vickys Scholarship 2021

Many Mansions recently honored 24 individuals, including high school seniors and parents, with Vicky’s Scholarship awards for seeking to better their lives through education.

This year was the highest amount of scholarship money awarded in any one year— $33,500. First-year recipients received $1,000; second-year recipients were awarded $1,500; third-year recipients got $2,000; and fourth-year recipients, $2,500.

Over the past nine years, Many Mansions has awarded 176 scholarships to 104 individuals, totaling $176,350.

The nonprofit organization provides affordable housing to low-income residents of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, with a focus on those of very low-income who are formerly homeless, seniors, veterans or disabled.

Victoria Garcia, a longtime school and classroom volunteer, offered love and support to her many students, improving their lives for the better, according to a statement from Many Mansions.

Vicky’s Scholarship was created by her son Marty Garcia, a member of Many Mansions’ board of directors, in honor of his mother and her inspirational work with youths.

Article originally appeared in the  Thousand Oaks Acorn (Read full story and additional photos)

Camarillo gives green light to build 67 affordable apartments, townhouses for sale

Vista Campanario

A planned housing development will add 67 affordable housing units near Lewis Road in Camarillo.

The Camarillo City Council gave developers Many Mansions and the Area Housing Authority for the County of Ventura the go-ahead last week to build affordable apartments and townhouses on the 2.5 acres of land where Stock Building Supply once stood.

“This type of a project doesn’t come before us very much,” Councilman Kevin Kildee said. “I have been on this council for 25 years, and this is the first project of this magnitude in affordability that I’ve seen.”

The development, to be located at 2800 Barry St., will be called Vista Campanario Apartments and Vista Campanario Apartments. In Spanish, “vista campanario” means view of the bell tower. The site is located near the St. Mary Magdalen Chapel in Old Town Camarillo.

Developers will construct 59 apartments that will be restricted to extremely low-income, very low-income and low-income households.

Low-income households make up to 80% of the area median income. Very low-income households earn up to 50% and extremely low-income households make up to 30%, according to the city’s housing element. The current area median income in Camarillo is $92,913, housing document says.

The developers will also build eight, three-bedroom townhomes that will be sold to low-income families.

Fourteen of the apartments will be reserved for households with family members who are disabled or veterans, said Jackie Lee, the city’s principal planner. Seven of the units will be single-occupancy units, which are small, studio-type apartments with their own kitchen and bathroom intended to be rented for one or more months at a time, she said.

Michael Nigh, executive director of the Area Housing Authority of the County of Ventura, said tenants will only pay 30% of their income in rent each month. A family of three earning $50,000 a year will pay about $1,250 per month for a two bedroom apartment. Nigh said the average market rate for a similar apartment is about $2,400 a month,

“This is going to be a model on how you can do affordable housing well,” Councilwoman Susan Santangelo said. “How you can do it and still maintain the character of your community and be able to meet the housing need of so many.”

The developers will build a 60th apartment for the property manager in addition to the 59 affordable units, as well as a playground, picnic and barbecue area, community room and laundry facilities.

A total of 128 parking spaces will be provided in a two-story parking garage, though some of the spaces will be located outside of the structure. The townhouses will have their own two-car garages.

Nigh anticipates construction to begin as early as December 2022 with residents moving in on July 1, 2024, a year before the original estimated completion date.

The total estimated cost for the project is approximately $37 million, he said.

To make the development possible, the City Council changed the designated use of the property from industrial and commercial to high-density residential. The council also changed the zoning from light manufacturing to residential development with a maximum of 30 housing units per acre.

The project’s 67 affordable housing units can help the city meet guidelines set forth by the state. According to Camarillo’s housing element, the state is recommending the city support the construction of 597 affordable housing units by 2029.

The housing element is a document that identifies the housing needs within the city and offers solutions to those needs.

The City Council also approved a waiver for the requirement to underground surrounding utility lines and poles.

The city will donate the 2.5-acre property to the developers, which was purchased in 2018 for $3.6 million, to support the construction of the project, Lee said. The city will also issue a $4.9 million, 55-year loan to the developers.

During a public hearing at last week’s City Council meeting, local resident Stephan Lovstedt said he was concerned about the number of residents the residential development would add to the area. He explained street parking is already crowded and wondered how the flow of traffic would be affected.

“Less people in a small area seems like a nicer community to live in,” Lovstedt said.

Armando Delgato, a member of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters Local 805, spoke out against the project. He acknowledged that while an environmental assessment of the project found no significant impact on the quality of the human environment, it failed to adequately account for air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.

“How do you study an out-of-area workforce coming from Lancaster or Santa Maria,” Delgato said. “That’s a lot of vehicles on the road.”

Instead, he encouraged the developers to hire local contractors and subcontractors to help the carpenters union’s apprentices grow in their careers.

Nigh said the Area Housing Authority of Ventura County has a record of hiring local skilled laborers and encourages its general contractors to do the same.

Article Originally from VCStar by Brian J. Varela 


Alexander Russell is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Many Mansions. He is one of the leading advocates and experts in affordable housing in the southern California region and is currently the chair or past chair of the board of directors of three other local affordable housing nonprofits: the Housing Trust Fund of Ventura County, the Housing Land Trust of Ventura County, and the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing. He has an M.B.A. from California Lutheran University, a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine, completed the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate at USC, and has his California real estate broker license. Fun fact: He loves adventure sports such as bungee jumping, skydiving, and he recently rappelled waterfalls in Maui.
When asked some additional questions, the below was shared:
Tell us about the strides that have been made over the past 18 months.
Many Mansions is an award winning local non-profit affordable housing builder, property manager, and services provider whose mission is to provide quality affordable rental housing in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties, and services (including free after school tutoring programs, summer camp, college scholarships, food assistance, and much more) that encourage our residents to thrive. Operating since 1979, Many Mansions was recognized as the 2020 Developer of the Year by the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing and is one of the leading local providers of affordable housing for lower-income people that are homeless, disabled, veterans, transitional age youth (TAY), seniors, and other vulnerable populations. While challenging, that past 18 months have been exciting as Many Mansions is currently experiencing unprecedented growth and our housing portfolio is expected to double in size in the next five years. We are continually seeking new volunteers, supporters, and partnerships with other community groups, builders, etc. so if you are looking to get involved with a mission-driven and innovative organization and to help make a positive impact in the community, please visit our website at
What has your company’s greatest accomplishment been so far in 2021?
Many Mansions is proud of our continued growth in the San Fernando Valley. In partnership with LA Family Housing, we are nearly complete with construction on the Summit View Apartments, located across the street from and with beautiful views of the Hansen dam. This gorgeous apartment complex will have 49 apartments and substantial community space and amenities to serve the homeless and disabled veterans that will move into their homes early next year. Additionally, Many Mansions recently broke ground on the Sun King Apartments, located across the street from Sun Valley high school. Given the proximity to several schools and the rise in homelessness among school-aged children in our community, this development, unlike most housing for the homeless, will focus on homeless families. In partnership with the LA Unified School District (LAUSD), this development will give a preference for households that are homeless and have a child attending an LAUSD school.
What benefits have been gained by having a seat at the table with VICA?
While Many Mansions is a nonprofit, we are a business too, and have over 75 employees and many of the same issues, concerns, and needs as all VICA members. Therefore, we appreciate the networking events, the opportunity to participate on local advocacy via the land use and not-for-profit committees, and the larger advocacy work and resources (e.g., action alerts, newsletters, etc.) that help keep us current on important events affecting our community.
Can you share what VICA has meant for your business during COVID?
As a local nonprofit, we are reliant on community outreach and support. Thus, despite the challenges of COVID, VICA has really helped Many Mansions grow its presence in the San Fernando Valley through innovative events, networking, and public relations opportunities.
Article originally appeared in the VICA Weekly