Online rental applications are now being accepted for an apartment complex under construction in San Luis Obispo reserved for low-income residents.
The Iron Works Apartments, scheduled to open in August at 3682 Broad St., is taking applications through April 11 at 4 p.m.
Applicants will need to qualify by earning 50 to 60 percent of the area median income. In SLO, that equates to about $35,000 for one person and $50,000 for a four-person household, said Scott Smith, executive director of the Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo (HASLO), the nonprofit that's developing the project.
HASLO is waiting for the new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development income level numbers for 2018 to come out to determine the exact levels.
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"There is such a scarcity of housing right now," Smith said. "I don't want to create a cattle stampede. But there is a window of time for this first batch of applications, and I encourage anyone interested to apply, even if they're not sure if they qualify."
The 46-unit complex is located near the Marigold Shopping Center, in addition to area schools, parks and bus lines — and will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom units housed within three-story buildings on the site. The homes all are flats, meaning they're on one level.
Apartments range from 562 to 1,081 square feet. Rents range from $766 to $1,104 per month for one and two bedroom homes. Three bedrooms are priced at a percentage of residents' income.
To qualify, a household's rent can't be more than 40 percent of income because "we have to make sure that tenants have enough money to pay the rents," Smith said.
More than 500 prospective renters already have applied. Smith suggests that despite the high demand people not be discouraged and to still apply.
The applications will be selected based on a lottery system. Even after April 11, paper applications submitted to the HASLO office will be considered (forms will be available online). However, applications should be submitted as soon as possible online for the best chance to be selected, Smith said. Preference will be given to those who live and work locally.
Smith said he already reached out to the Von's grocery story in the Marigold Center to inform employees of the new complex, which might benefit some of their employees, he said, who could easily walk to work.
Because the new housing is nearby a shopping center and Damon Garcia Sports Complex it will make it easier on residents to take advantage of amenities without having to drive.
The complex also includes on-site coin-operated laundry, handicap accessible units, bike racks, patios and an allowance for one dog or cat under 25 pounds (some confusion occurred because initial flyers indicated through a "greater than" symbol that pets needed to be larger than 25 pounds, but that has since been corrected to "less than," Smith said).
The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in August while a next phase is slated for completion by September. A separate, third piece of the mixed-use plan will include a 4,000-square-foot commercial space with a new proposal for eight to 10 additional apartments in the upstairs of that building.
The top-floor apartments still must be approved by the city, Smith said.
"The commercial space is designed for three or four smaller uses, not one larger business," Smith said. "We're not sure what types of businesses could go in. There could be a small branch of a bank or a nonprofit organization, perhaps. It could be office or retail."