Revitalization project in Central Fresno removed blighted property from Lowell neighborhood

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A small reduction in Fresno's homeless population represents a very big step for those able to find transitional housing in a beautifully refurbished home.

"It's a new beginning for my life. I've been through a lot in my life. I've struggled. I've been through addiction, through hard times and now it's time for the good life," said Stephanie Williamson.

Williams and her husband lived on the streets for five years, often sleeping outside at Tuolumne and Van Ness before she moved into an eight-unit complex in Fresno's Lowell neighborhood.

Neighbors say the home had been neglected for a decade before it was bought last year by Regency Properties.

"It really was a mess and it was a detriment to this neighborhood. So you had transients. You had break-ins," said Becky Foore.

The 105-year-old building is a source of pride. Residents report less police calls on Glenn South of Belmont and other parts of the neighborhood.

"One of the reasons why crime has dropped here in Lowell is the incredible investment in Lowell and that starts with property investment," said Capt. Mark Salazar.

Mayor Lee Brand was encouraged by this project that improves the area and gets people off the streets.

"We're trying to look outside the box now for solutions. There's roughly about 9,000 units we need for affordable housing," Mayor Lee Brand

Tenants who moved in were processed through Fresno County's behavioral and mental health systems. Jack Pharris was homeless for the past 15 years

"I haven't had an apartment on my own in my life so it's the first one. So it's very relaxed and comfortable."

The Lowell neighborhood still faces plenty of challenges but each bright spot represents another victory.

"It's just one more piece of the puzzle," said Foore.
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