David Martinez says after five years of being homeless, he's thrilled to have his own apartment in Fillmore

A Place to Call Home: 200 Ventura County Residents Move into Needed Affordable Housing Complex

$47 million Mountain View apartments in Fillmore helping homeless, people with disabilities, seniors, and families in financial crisis.

We’re walking up the stairs to David Martinez’s new apartment in Fillmore, and he’s excited to show it off.

“Here we go… this is my place right here,” said Martinez, as he opened the door.

Martinez is one of the 200 people moving into Mountain View, a 77-unit affordable housing complex which just opened in Fillmore. Martinez said he was coping with mental health issues, and homelessness at the same time.

“I was homeless for about five years, and I couldn’t get help from anybody at the time,” said Martinez. He admits when he applied for one of the slots in the new building, he didn’t think he would get one. Now, the 58-year-old man has a one-bedroom apartment in the complex.

The Thousand Oaks based non-profit housing development organization Many Mansions put together the $47 million project.

Rick Schroeder is President of Many Mansions. He said building the project wasn’t easy. In fact, some previous developers gave up on the three acre Santa Clara Street site.

Many Mansions bought the property six years ago, and spent years trying to line up government and private financing for the project.

Now, it’s home to many people who were in desperate need of affordable housing.

“Individuals, families, homeless, seniors, those with disabilities,” said Schroeder.

Many Mansions Executive Vice President Douglas Menges describes the complex, which is just north of Highway 126 in Fillmore.

“What’s here is 77 units… 19 three bedrooms, 21 two bedrooms, and the rest are one bedrooms,” said Menges.

The new Mountain View apartment complex in Fillmore has 77 units. It's designed to provide some badly needed new affordable housing for the community.
The new Mountain View apartment complex in Fillmore has 77 units. It’s designed to provide some badly needed new affordable housing for the community.

The Mountain View complex also features community rooms, play areas for children, and other amenities for residents.

Democratic State Assemblyman Steve Bennett of Ventura said the project is impressive, but admits it’s just scratching the surface of the affordable housing needs in the region.

“We need hundreds of these kinds of projects in Ventura County, and we need them now” said Bennett. “800 people from Fillmore alone qualified for these 77 apartments.”

Fillmore Mayor Pro-Tem Lynn Edmonds said they need several more affordable housing projects on this scale to ease the city’s affordable housing crisis.

“We need to get people out of sheds, out of garages, out of unhealthy conditions… we need to keep working,” said Edmonds.

Martinez feels like he’s hit the jackpot, going from being homeless to having his own one-bedroom apartment. He shows off a pair of battered tennis shoes he’s keeping as a reminder of his past, when he was living on the streets.

Martinez said having a home has changed his life.

“They gave me the key… and I couldn’t speak because I was overwhelmed. Every day, I wake up with joy.”

Article originally appeared in the  KCLU (Read full story and additional photos)