powayvillasCHW provided a comprehensive renovation at the Poway Villas apartment community in Poway. CHW purchased the 60-apartment community in November 2011 and worked with residents to prioritize the renovations.

Following the purchase of the apartment complex, CHW provided a comprehensive renovation with goals to provide energy and water efficiency, upgrade the apartments, and provide new amenities for the residents, including a new community center.  Apartment interiors feature all new kitchens with Energy Star appliances and new bathrooms with water efficient facilities.  The new 2,100 sf Community Building includes a Learning Center, meeting room and fully equipped kitchen for resident gatherings, as well as new laundry and maintenance rooms and office.   In this community center, CHW provides a full range of resident programs including its signature after school Learning Communities program for children, and its Own ∙ Rent ∙ Achieve classes including financial management and homeownership qualification for adults, programs that help residents move up in the world.

Recognized as a national leader in sustainable, green building methods, CHW designed the renovation with upgrades of a new “cool roof” and  insulation, addition of a solar hot water system, installation of Energy Star appliances and fixtures, new high efficiency heat/air conditioning systems, and water conservation features including “smart” drip irrigation for the California native and naturalized plant landscape.  These features will reduce energy and water utilization and reduce the carbon footprint of the complex. Part of the Energy Upgrade California program, and constructed by Sun Country Builders, the renovation is estimated to reduce energy by as much as 40%, including the new solar hot water system.

With a focus on helping residents improve and maintain good health, the interior upgrades designed the interiors free of unhealthy materials that can be present in cabinets, carpets, glues.  Instead, interiors feature no-VOC paint, sustainable hard flooring and “green” carpet/pads, formaldehyde free cabinets. Residents can now grow vegetables, herbs and fruit in the on-site fenced organic resident garden with raised and on-grade planting beds.  Even the new landscaping offers edible plants such as citrus trees and herbs like rosemary and lavender.  Bicycle racks, new play equipment, and a walking path with four par course fitness stations make exercise fun and easy for children and adults.  New patios with BBQ’s were constructed for each residential building, and together with the new central garden and picnic/seating areas, promote resident engagement.

Quilts Mean Community

Senior Project Manager Mary Jane Jagodzinski worked with the design team of The John Stewart Company, Rodriguez Associates Architects and Planners, and Ivy Landscape Architects and Planners to create a “quilt” theme for the renovation– a concept that was woven throughout the complex into the hardscape, landscape, art and furnishings.

“We blended Poway’s ‘City in the Country’ personality into our interpretation of a quilt – the American symbol of community and home,” says CHW Chief Executive Officer Sue Reynolds.

“Like a group in a quilting circle, the Poway Villas residents have worked together over years to make a supportive community – and have played a key role in running these apartments.  And like a quilter that reuses bits of favorite fabrics to create new warmth and beauty, CHW combined old and new to make this place something special for the future.”

Financing the Deal

In 2010, CHW received national recognition by their award of Novogradac’s Journal of Tax Credits 2010 Developments of Distinction Award – Innovative HUD Finance for the financing of the acquisition and renovation of Turnagain Apartments in Fallbrook that employed tax credits to recapitalize a former HUD 236 apartment.  CHW used this same successful financing structure to acquire and renovate Poway Villas.

“We’ve developed a model for successfully layering tax credits with HUD rent subsidies to preserve and provide substantial renovation of aging housing assets,” Ms. Reynolds observes. “In the Poway Villas scenario, we assembled a complex mix of low-income housing tax credits and permanent mortgages including seller subordinate financing and long-term HUD project-based Section 8 contracts.” This financing structure enabled extensive property renovation, preserved affordability for North County families– all without any city, county, state or redevelopment funding.”

“By structuring our efforts in this way, residents pay a fixed rate of 30% of their income for rent, allowing them to save for the future, spend more at local businesses and, perhaps, one day to own a home.”

CHW’s partners were impressed by the developer’s ability to improve this asset so significantly, persuading them of the ongoing value of collaborating with CHW on affordable housing acquisitions, renovations, and rehabilitation.

Sean Spear, Executive Director of the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee (CDLAC), which provided the tax-exempt bond allocation, noted:   “Poway Villas represents the best of what our program tries to support.  Working directly with the residents from the beginning, Community HousingWorks has managed to transform a struggling housing development into a major community asset for Poway.  We are honored to have helped facilitate the financing of this rejuvenated community.”

Adds Union Bank’s Annette Billingsley, SVP of Community Development Financing; “Union Bank is very pleased to serve as a financial partner of Poway Villas and make a long-term investment in the City of Poway. This marks our fifth financing partnership with Community HousingWorks, and we are proud to support their mission of providing quality affordable housing and services that help build vibrant and sustainable communities.”

Construction finance was provided by Union Bank, and tax-exempt bonds were issued by CMFA.  LISC provided the predevelopment loan.  Permanent lenders are Union Bank, who is also the low income housing tax credit equity investor, and Poway Villas Community Housing Association.  HUD provided a long term project based Section 8 rental subsidy contract.


  • 60 one, two and three bedroom apartments
  • Affordable to people earning 20% to 60% AMI
  • Project Based Section 8 Certificates for all residents
  • Major Renovation of apartments including energy efficient and water conserving features
  • New, sustainably designed and constructed Community Complex
  • Energy Upgrade California certification
  • Designed by Rodriguez Associates, Architects & Planners
  • Start: November 2011 Completion:  July 2012


  • New 2,100 square foot community building will house CHW’s award winning Learning Center programs, property management office, maintenance room, a new laundry room, computer center for adults and children and a multipurpose meeting room with kitchen and patio
  • New outdoor seating areas, rose gardens and community food gardens
  • Walking/jogging path with parcourse equipment and bike racks to promote healthy activities for both adults and children

Financing Sources:

  • Union Bank – Construction and Permanent Mortgages (taxable bonds)
  • Union Bank – Low Income Housing Tax Credit investor
  • Poway Villas Community Housing Association – Seller Note
  • Energy Upgrade California Rebate Program


  • Affordable Housing Finance Magazine, “Readers Choice Awards, Finalist, Preservation of Affordable Housing,” 2013
  • Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition, “Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award: HUD Preservation,” 2013
  • San Diego Housing Federation, “SDG&E Energy Efficiency & Sustainability Award, Retrofit,” 2013
  • San Diego Housing Federation, “Housing Project of the Year, Rehabilitation,” 2013

13001 Bowdon Road, Poway, CA  92064
Poway, California