"This is exciting for me. I have worked on this project for many years", he said. We want to create a model of how to run homes like this. In addition to the on-site assistance, the project is different from many like it because it targets families, atypical for supportive housing, with 20 of the 24 units having two or more bedrooms. It is also a certified green building. "The project was approved by the city of Rohnert Park before the city passed its green building ordinance. However, the building official for the city of Rohnert Park, Peter Bruck", said the architect, Claudia Cleaver of Morse and Cleaver Architects in Petaluma, "had designed a green building, and developer Burbank Housing and Wright Contracting, the general contractor for the project, agreed to do what they could to quantify the greenness of the building." Ms. Cleaver is the current co-chair of the Redwood Empire Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

It is the first green multi-family development in Rohnert Park to be certified under the Build It Green regulations. Mr. Bruck said, "This project is a testament that green is affordable and attainable at a very high level without spending a lot of money and jumping through hoops." Ms. Cleaver said a huge part of the planning process was the landscaping. "We put in native plants and edible berries, fruit trees," she said. "There will be compost bins. If you can get a kid in the garden, they have an understanding of how things work." She said the whole project was designed with children in mind. "There are sight lines from the main building, from the laundry room. The whole thing is fenced so moms can go about doing their stuff without worrying too much about the kids." When designing a green building anytime, but particularly for low-income housing, she said, it is essential to look at the no-cost things that can be done. The buildings are all south or nearly south facing to get good sun and to ensure they could be easily retrofitted for photovoltaic systems. The only building thus far to have photovoltaic panels is the commons building. Vida Nueva was developed by a combination of funds from the city of Rohnert Park, Burbank Housing and Community Housing Sonoma County. Additional development funding was provided by the California Department of Housing and Community Development's Multifamily Housing Program, the Sonoma County Community Development Commission, Sonoma County Department of Mental Health and the Federal Home Loan Bank's Affordable Housing Program, sponsored by Bank of Marin and Alliant Capital LLC, a nationwide sponsor of affordable housing, headquartered in Woodland Hills.

Rohnert Park's Community Development Commission gave Burbank $266,667 for predevelopment costs in 2005. After a two-year study on the impact to the California tiger salamander that established no negative impact on the endangered species, the city of Rohnert Park sold the land to the Community Development Commission. Then an affordable housing and loan agreement for nearly $1.7 million was established. Of the total, $810,000 was to be used by Burbank to purchase the land from the commission, and the remaining funds were used for pre-development and development costs. The total project cost was $9 million. Rents will be based on income, with monthly costs ranging from $215 to $942. The on-site services for tenants will be provided by COTS. The CDC is going to provide $75,000 per year for five years for the support services at the project. Rohnert Park authorized a fee-deferral agreement allowing Burbank to defer certain development-related fees until a later date. COTS will have four staffers in an office in the commons area participating in Family Connection, a program it sponsors. The program is run by volunteers who make a year commitment, as do the participants, to be essentially a support network for the family. "Most people out there have families they can turn to for support. In this development, many don't have that," said Mr. Kirkpatrick. Family Connection provides that support. "We hope this is the first of many projects like this."