SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A chain link fence surrounds dust and grass on the corner of 16th and F streets in Sacramento.

“It makes me angry to drive by this lot,” said Rachel Iskow with Mutual Housing California.

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Building designs for the lot have been approved for more than a year.

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“Fifty-four seniors could be living here in safety,” said Iskow walking around the property.

She says construction crews are waiting, ready to move dirt.

“We have to get creative, but it’s not rocket science here. We’ve done it before,” said Iskow expressing her frustration.

But without local, state, or federal subsidies, this affordable housing apartment for seniors is just a pretty plan on paper.

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“One of the biggest things is the lack of funding we have to build affordable homes,” said Darryl Rutherford with Housing Sacramento.

Affordable units target people making 60 to 80 percent of the median income, which is roughly $63,000 per household.

Rutherford says money to build those homes has dried up or been taken away.

“We lost about $20 million a year that could be used to preserve and build new affordable homes,” said Rutherford.

Since the recession, Rutherford says Sacramento County has lost 66 percent of state and federal funding to build affordable homes.

In 2009, county and city leaders revised their housing policy. They no longer require developers to build affordable units within a market rate project. It’s now voluntary.

“Allows developers to pay a very small fee instead of building the actual homes themselves,” said Rutherford.

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In Sacramento, the fees are expected to generate more than $100 million in 20 years. But Rutherford says it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the need.