Thirty homeless mothers are vying for a chance to move their families into a new, subsidized apartment complex that will open later this month.
But there is space for only 10 families.
As completion of the Stoll Community House Apartments on Los Robles Road nears, representatives from three charity groups will interview the women who will become the building's first inhabitants.
To be eligible, the women must be homeless, sober, cooperative and have the desire and ability to improve their lives by finding and keeping better jobs.
The selection process began this week.
"It's going to be really tough," said Many Mansions Associate Director Mary MacLeod, one of the three interviewers. "But working together, we'll be able to decide who will have the best chance of becoming self-sufficient in a year's time."
The 10,318-square-foot building, managed by the affordable housing group Many Mansions, will serve as temporary accommodations for the women and their children. Many Mansions' goal is to give the women about a year of inexpensive housing, free child care and job services so they can make the transition to independent living.
Those who are selected will pay up to 30% of their paycheck in rent. Those who are turned away will be referred to other organizations.
Many of the applicants have been living in homeless shelters, motels or friends' homes, MacLeod said. Their jobs barely cover the cost of child care, let alone rent.
"It's a small step, but it will be a step toward helping the needs of these women," MacLeod said.