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Vernon Awarded $8 Million Housing Grant

An $8 million affordable housing grant to increase the housing stock in Vernon – a mostly industrial city of around 100 people – is an “important step toward reforming local corruption,” a state lawmaker said Tuesday.

State Sen. Kevin de Leon said the federal low-income housing tax credits, awarded to the city by Treasurer Bill Lockyer and the state Tax Credit Allocation Committee, would double the number of “independent voters” in Vernon.

The city is looking to build the Vernon Family Apartments, a 45-unit apartment at the 4600 block of East 52nd Drive, next to the city of Maywood.

Housing development which will expand the electorate is a key element in changing the former culture of corruption in Vernon,” De Leon said.

Vernon drew criticism in recent years when it was revealed top officials were paid upwards of $1 million in annual salaries, prompting local and state lawmakers to call for the city’s disincorporation. They said the paltry size of the city’s electorate – consisting of voters who are often also city employees – makes it difficult to hold elected officials accountable.

De Leon last year struck a deal with Assembly Speaker John Perez that helped defeat a bill that would have dissolved the City of Vernon. In return, the city took up a series of “good governance” reforms, one of which was to double its population.