BY DENNIS WYATT
Jose Nuno gets that the state says Manteca has enough land in the right color on zoning maps to accommodate affordable housing.
But he also knows that colored maps and well-meaning platitudes won’t get affordable housing built.
Securing affordable housing is one of the reasons the 42-year-old Nuno is seeking one of two Manteca City Council seats up for grabs in the Nov. 6, 2018 election.
Nuno is arguably the most qualified candidate ever to run for election in Manteca in terms of having a strong grasp of affordable housing issues and how to provide options to turn a municipal policy calling for a wide repertoire of housing choices into reality. He has spent the last 13 years doing what some politicians contend is impossible to do — building affordable housing.
He is part of the Stockton-based Visionary Home Builders of California that has more than 3,500 affordable homes in five counties that represents a $150 million real estate portfolio.
The non-profit agency helps renters become homeowners. It serves families, seniors, and individuals of low to moderate income.
“It can be difficult to work and live in Manteca,” Nuno said of housing prices and rent.
He understands that from the perspective of being a first-time homebuyer during the Great Recession that hit in 2008. The drop-in prices allowed him and his wife Gabriela to go from renters to owners of a new home — a 1,400-square-foot Florsheim home in a neighborhood southwest of Airport Way and the 120 Bypass. The home, designed with a smaller footprint, was not only competitive with the stressed resale market but it was priced for first-time buyers.
Nuno knows there are incentives the city can offer to encourage builders to develop homes for the underserved affordable working-class housing market that targets people with Manteca paychecks who want to live in Manteca. It also requires the city being open to deviating from the same old mold not just in how traditional single family homes are built but also to encourage multiple-family developments that go beyond apartments.
“It is about creating opportunities,” Nuno said for both developers and buyers.
While a strong desire to help Manteca deliver more affordable housing options for buyers and renters alike is one reason Nuno is running, it’s not the only one.
“I want to serve the community,” Nuno said.
Nuno is more than just an expert on affordable housing. He has served on the Manteca Planning Commission since 2011. Nuno has also served his country.
Nuno was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and moved to Waterford at the age of 5. He graduated from Oakdale High in 1994. Upon graduation he headed to college but soon decided to become an Army Reservist and work with the Modesto Police Department. He served in the Army for eight years and was honorably discharged as a Communications Specialist.
He worked as a police assistant and penal assistant while with the Modesto Police
Nuno became the first member of his family to graduate from college, California State University Stanislaus, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He went on to earn his Masters in Public Administration from the same institution.
Nuno believes he would bring a fresh perspective to the council. Both he and his wife of 11 years — Gabriela who is an East Union High graduate — are valley commuters. He heads north to Stockton and she heads south to Turlock where she is an assistant director of enrollment services at California State University at Turlock. They have two children — Max, 5, and Natalia, 3.
He wants others to have the same opportunities that have been afforded his family in terms of being able to secure housing. The family now lives in the Union Ranch neighborhood in North Manteca.
He prefers meeting with people face-to-face as well as through social media and phone calls in a bid to be as accessible as possible. Nuno intends to have his family involved with his efforts to serve community given Manteca is The Family City.
As such he wants to build on what makes Manteca appealing to families.
That includes strengthening public safety and stepping up city efforts to deal with the homeless.
Nuno sees a waterpark resort fitting into Manteca’s Family City aura as an effective way to create jobs and strengthen the economy.
Nuno began his career with Visionary Home Builders of California in 2005. He has directly overseen numerous single and multi-family development projects covering all phases of acquisition, financing, rehabilitation, lease-up and operations. Nuno has also overseen homebuyer education/certification for first-time homebuyers, foreclosure counseling and a Rent-to-Own program.
Currently, Nuno oversees the agency’s homeownership programs and services which include the $150 million real estate portfolio. He assures that the properties are operating with the agency’s mission in mind to create and advocate for healthy, vibrant, safe communities through the development of affordable housing and educational opportunities for families, seniors, and individuals of low and moderate income.
Nuno has been a member of and served on numerous boards and committees, including: National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), League of United Latin American Citizens, Housing California, The Great Valley Center’s Institute for the Development of Emerging Area Leaders, CSU Stanislaus – Stockton Center Advisory Committee, Leadership Stockton Alumni Association, City of Stockton Mayor’s Task Force on Persons with Disabilities and the California Coalition for Rural Housing Internship Program.