Affordable independent living home set to open in west central Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As Fresno County works to improve housing affordability, one woman is taking matters into her own hands.

Rizpah Bellard is taking action to help provide a roof over the heads of those in underserved communities.

"I focus on providing housing for folks who come from mental health institutions or coming out of prison, folks who just need affordable housing who've been previously homeless," Bellard said.

The independent living home is called Blynd Essence Ranch, located at the corner of N. Blythe and W. Shields avenues in west central Fresno.

It's the second independent living home Bellard operates in Fresno County, which follows the county's Independent Living Association's quality standards.

Bellard's passion for helping people, plus the lack of affordable housing, motivated her to expand her services.

"I don't really see it as me doing a lot," she explained. "I'm just doing what I feel is the right thing to do."

The 11-bedroom home will house five men and four women. There will be single rooms and shared rooms.

Rent ranges from $800 to $950, which includes a chef-cooked dinner every night.

The huge backyard will also include livestock, as Bellard plans to share her love for agriculture with residents.

"The whole point is to bring agriculture to the inner city, bring agriculture to those who are disadvantaged and marginalized," she said. "Not only as a way for therapy, like animal therapy or natural therapy but as a way to teach workforce development in the ag sector."

Bellard is hoping to get residents moved in by June 1.

She has an open house scheduled for interested residents to stop by and apply. It's set for May 25, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 4396 W. Shields Avenue.

Bellard also has a GoFundMe set up, and she is still accepting furniture donations to finish furnishing the home. Her contact info is (530) 867-7994.

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