Thursday, July 8, 2010

Judi Penman Joins Salvation Army Advisory Board

Judi Penman, president and CEO of the San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce, has joined the Salvation Army Advisory Board to help the non-profit organization in its community outreach efforts. Photo by Chris Sloan
 (SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Long-time civic leader Judi Penman has joined the advisory board of The Salvation Army.

“I am a strong believer in The Salvation Army” said Penman, who is also the president and chief executive officer of the San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce and an elected member of the San Bernardino City Unified School District governing board.

“I believe it is one of the best programs around. It gets to the people who really need help, and actually works with them,” Penman said. “And, it is a Christian organization, which is important to me.”

Penman previously served on the Salvation Army Advisory Board from approximately 2005 through 2007.

The life-long San Bernardino resident is married to San Bernardino City Attorney James Penman.

“We are glad to have Judi back on the Salvation Army advisory board,” said Board President Tom Brickley. “The depth of knowledge she has about San Bernardino and her ability to make connections with others in the community will be a tremendous asset to us.”

The San Bernardino Corps of the Salvation Army serves the cities of San Bernardino, Rialto, Highland, Grand Terrace and Colton, and the unincorporated community of Bloomington.

The advisory board consists of volunteers who assist the Salvation Army with fund raising, community outreach and other areas of the Corps’ ministries.

About the Salvation Army San Bernardino Corps
The Salvation Army may be able to provide emergency services including food; lodging for homeless or displaced families; clothing and furniture; assistance with rent or mortgage and transportation when funds are available. The Salvation Army Team Radio Network assists rescue workers and evacuees in such disasters as fires.

The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church, and also offers evangelical programs for boys, girls and adults. One of the largest charitable and international service organizations in the world, The Salvation Army has been in existence since 1865 and in San Bernardino since 1887, supporting those in need without discrimination. Donations may always be made online at  or by calling 1-(800)-SAL-ARMY.

For local help, call the San Bernardino Corps headquarters at (909) 888-1337.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Eastpointe Village Begins Neighborhood Renewal

Treyshawn Jackson, 8, leads the pledge of allegiance as Eastpointe Village is dedicated in his neighborhood. San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris, San Bernardino Economic Development Agency Housing and Community Services Director Carey Jackson were among those participating in the dedication ceremony. Photo by Matt Sloan

Susan McDevitt, executive director of Mary Erickson Community Housing and San Bernardino Mayor  Patrick Morris cut the ribbon on Eastpoint Village as representatives from the San Bernardino Economic Development Agency, the federal Housing and Urban Development, Mary Erickson Community Housing and the San Manuel Band of Indians watch. Photo by Matt Sloan
(San BERNARDINO, Calif.) A fourplex building on 19th Street, now home to four new families is, by far, the nicest looking building on its block. But it’s also a symbol of what the neighborhood will be.

2194 19th Street is the first building in Eastpointe Village, the new housing developed by community development organization Mary Erickson Housing in partnership with the San Bernardino Economic Development Association. Eventually, Eastpointe Village will encompass 25 of the fourplexes in this neighborhood near Richardson Prep Academy, providing quality housing to the lowest-income residents of San Bernardino.

“Families will seek out this location, because it will be a beautiful place to live,” said San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris. “We hope our partnership with Mary Erickson Community Housing can provide many more opportunities to renew neighborhoods and provide affordable housing.”

“We are pleased to work with the City of San Bernardino,” said Doug Bystry, president of the Mary Erickson Community Housing board. “We are proud of this project, because of its commitment to the entire neighborhood.”

During a grand opening of Eastpointe Village held recently, Mayor Morris noted the sounds of small children from the neighborhood at the ceremony, and of a bulldozer across the street, tearing down another building.

“These babies are our future,” Mayor Morris said. “The tearing down of blighted, mold-infested, rat-infested apartments symbolizes our past.” If we tear down affordable low-cost housing, we must rebuild and provide that same population new opportunities.”

The demolition of buildings on the other side of 19th Street, and on both sides of Sunrise Street a block south, will make room for a senior apartment complex, and when market prices improve, 50 to 55 single-family homes that will be sold to families making low and moderate income, currently up to $77,400 for a family of four.

Families of four making up to $32,250 yearly will qualify to live in Eastpointe Village. Larger families would be allowed to make more, while individuals and families of less than four qualify with lower incomes.

Two-bedroom apartments in Eastpointe Village lease for $646 monthly. Three bedrooms lease for $743. A government subsidy for low income renters allows Mary Erickson Community Housing to charge these below-market rates.

The newly refurbished apartments feature new kitchen appliances, and cabinets, granite countertops, new carpeting in the bedrooms, vinyl wood-grained plank flooring in the living room, tile in the kitchen and entry, central air conditioning, and a wall of storage space in the hall as well as large closets in the bedrooms.

In July 2009, the San Bernardino Economic Development Association selected Mary Erickson Community Housing as its partner in the redevelopment of this neighborhood through a competitive application process.

Mary Erickson Community Housing is a non-profit agency specializing in housing, with greater capacity than the City of San Bernardino Economic Development Agency for rehabilitating and professionally managing apartments for low to moderate-income families.

Mary Erickson Community Housing was founded in 1991.  Its namesake was a retired schoolteacher who was devoted to the principals of community participation and well being. 

Since it began the partnership with the San Bernardino Economic Development Agency, Mary Erickson Community Housing has acquired 10 of the 25 fourplexes slated for rehabilitation. 2194 19th Street was one of the first, and Mary Erickson Community Housing hired San Bernardino general contractor Chris Marshall, who began renovating this building in February at a cost of about $210,000.

A $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, plus $1 million in funds from the San Bernardino Economic Development Association is funding the entire Eastpointe Village project. This covers purchasing the property from individual owners, relocating displaced residents, and the renovation of each of the 25 fourplexes.

Mary Erickson Community Housing has offered applications to many of the neighborhood residents, who will qualify to live in Eastpointe Village if they meet income requirements and pass background screenings. Residents of Eastpointe Village must comply with rental agreements designed to keep the neighborhood safe and attractive.

Mary Erickson Community Housing also provides life skills education to help all residents gain skills to better manage their families and finances.

“Our goal is to help these residents move either to home ownership or renting unsubsidized housing,” said Susan McDevitt, executive director of Mary Erickson Community Housing.

Mary Erickson Community Housing established its first affordable housing complex in San Clemente and has since grown to include multiple properties serving hundreds of diverse, hard working, low income families in Southern California including: Moreno Valley, Corona, Loma Linda, Riverside and now San Bernardino.

Qualified families who wish to lease an apartment as Eastpointe Village may call (909) 543-8237, or visit 2194 E. 19th Street.

For more information on this project call the City of San Bernardino Economic Development Agency at (909) 663-1044 and ask for Sam Hughes.

Media:  If you would like any of the photos in the slide show below please send an email to with the photo id number and i will have it to you within 24 hours.  If you require the photo sooner please call Chris Sloan at (909) 888-0017.

Demolition A Step In Neighborhood Transformation

A bulldozer tears into 2165 E 19th Street, the first of 46 dilapidated fourplexes in the neighborhood to be torn down. Photo by Yee-Kong Yang
Mayor Patrick Morris discusses the city’s plans for the 19th & Sunrise neighborhood of San Bernardino as a bulldozer tears down the first of 46 dilapidated fourplexes slated for demolition. Photo by Yee-Kong Yang

Within two hours of the start of demolition, all that remained of 2165 E. 19th Street was a pile of rubble. Photo by Yee-Kong Yang

(San BERNARDINO, Calif.) A demolition project taking place in northeast San Bernardino shows the city’s commitment to fighting urban decay.

The demolition began recently when the first of four fourplexes of apartments near 19th and Sunrise went down in a public ceremony, plowed into by a large backhoe capable of reaching above the two-story building. Within two hours, the backhoe had reduced the apartment building to a pile of rubble.

“This marks a milestone for us as we look to remove the physical blight of these apartments,” said Carey Jenkins, director of housing and community services for the San Bernardino City Economic Development Association. “It is our expectation that this will bring in a new era in San Bernardino housing.”

Jenkins’ optimism is because the torn-down fourplex is part of a plan already in the works to replace 244 apartments in the area of 19th and Sunrise streets near Richardson Prep Academy with approximately 200 new and better dwellings, some of which will be single-family homes.

The city will in the next few years eliminate 46 fourplexes, or 184 apartments. As some time in the future, it will replace these with a senior citizen apartment complex and, when the housing demand returns, 50-55 single-family homes.

The remaining apartments, which are on the opposite side of 19th Street and on Sunrise behind Richardson Prep, are not being torn down. Instead, they are being completely rehabilitated by the non-profit community development organization Mary Erickson Community Housing, which will then rent to carefully screened and qualified families making up to $32,250 a year for a family of four.

Families with more than four people would be allowed to make even more, while individuals and families of less than four people qualify with lower incomes.

Rabbi Hillel Cohn, in giving an invocation for the demolition ceremony, noted that back in the 1970s, he and his wife had lived in one of the fourplexes now slated for demolition. In those days, the fourplexes were filled with young professional couples and families like the Cohns, as well as older people who had retired there.

“Many of our finest city residents lived here,” Mayor Patrick Morris said. “It was, at one time, a remarkably wonderful property.”

“Then life changed,” Mayor Morris continued. “As the older retirees passed away and the younger families moved on, these units were sold to folks known as absentee landlords, which means that they did not live here, but rented their units out to other people. Many of them did not oversee their units; they did not carefully maintain them.  As a result, we now have a horrible blight.”

The San Bernardino Economic Development Agency provides relocation assistance to all families who are displaced by the demolition or rehabilitation of their apartments.

Even though many of them live in the apartments that will eventually be torn down, current residents of the neighborhood are optimistic the change coming to their neighborhood will be good. They note that Mayor Morris has already helped the neighborhood by initiating increased patrol through Operation Phoenix.

“In one of these buildings that is already boarded up, the roaches were so bad, if you went inside, you would see them falling off the ceiling,” said Robert Boyd. “In one of the apartments, the toilet pipe had broken underneath the living room, and all the sewage had gone under the carpet.  It molded and started to stink so bad the people had to leave.”

“New places with better screening will help,” said resident Martha Emmitt. “Already, it has been months since I saw drug deals transpire, or heard gunfire. I feel this is due largely to the efforts by the City of San Bernardino, in particular, the mayor’s Operation Phoenix.”

Mary Erickson Community Housing recently completed the rehabilitation of its first fourplex, and four families are now settling into that building. The organization hopes to have 12 fourplexes, with 48 apartments, rehabilitated by the end of 2010.

For more information on this project call the City of San Bernardino Economic Development Agency at (909) 963-5020 and ask for Sam Hughes.

 If you would like any of the photos in the slide show below please send an email to with the photo id number and i will have it to you within 24 hours.  If you require the photo sooner please call Chris Sloan at (909) 888-0017.