January 7, 2020

Motel Transforming into 82 Affordable Rental Apartments with Supportive Services for San Diegans Experiencing Homelessness

San Diego Housing Commission providing development funding and rental housing vouchers for residents of Benson Place in South Bay

SAN DIEGO, CA — The start of the new year was a fitting time to commemorate the development of Benson Place, a San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) partnership that will create a new beginning for a former motel, which will be transformed into affordable rental apartments for San Diegans who are experiencing homelessness.

“This facility, previously known as the EZ-8 Motel and now Benson Place, will provide 82 units of housing for people experiencing homelessness. Providing housing and services for homeless individuals will help thousands of San Diegans,” Councilmember Vivian Moreno said today during a ceremony to mark the development, which is in her Council District 8.

Located at 1010 Outer Road and facing Interstate Route 5 in the Otay Mesa/Nestor area of the City of San Diego, the development will remain affordable for 55 years for San Diegans experiencing chronic homelessness, including individuals with a disability.

“Benson place is an important part of the San Diego Housing Commission’s HOUSING FIRST –  SAN DIEGO program, which we set forth initially in November of 2014. In the over five years since, HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO has created more than 8,400 housing opportunities for San Diegans experiencing homelessness, getting people off the street, or helping them avoid the streets in the first place. These housing opportunities now include the 82 units here at Benson Place,” said SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry.

Through the homelessness action plan, SDHC awarded a $4.8 million loan toward the development, formerly known as Hollister Apartments, which consists of:

  • $4,760,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Affordable Housing Revolving Loan Funds, which are granted to the City of San Diego and administered by SDHC; and
  • $100,000 from the City of San Diego’s Affordable Housing Fund, which SDHC also administers.

SDHC also provided 82 federal rental housing vouchers, which will help the residents pay their rent. These Project-Based Housing Vouchers are linked to the development, so that when a resident moves on, the housing voucher can be used to provide housing for another individual experiencing homelessness.

The apartments at Benson Place will be affordable to households and individuals experiencing homelessness with income up to 30 percent of the San Diego Area Median Income, which is currently $22,500 a year for an individual. The development also includes one manager’s unit.

Father Joe’s Villages is the developer of the former motel site, working in partnership with the Chelsea Investment Corporation. Benson Place is the first development property that Father Joe’s Villages is building through its Turning the Key initiative to create 2,000 new units of affordable homes and permanent supportive housing in San Diego.

“Today, we have gathered here, not to simply mark the beginning of construction on a new building, but to declare loudly and boldly to the San Diego community and all of those suffering on our streets that hope lives here,” said the Deacon Jim Vargas, President and CEO of Father Joe’s Villages.

The message was reinforced by the unfurling of a large banner created by various community groups to welcome the residents of the development, who are anticipated to move in by the middle of the year.

Father Joe’s Villages also will be one of two service providers who will help residents of the development transition out of homelessness with assistance that includes case management, life skills training, nursing support, and social- and community-building support. The agency will provide some services onsite, and provide free transportation so that residents can access additional services at Father Joe’s Villages Downtown San Diego campus.

In addition, the County of San Diego Behavioral Health Services Division will provide services to residents of 25 rental apartments at Benson that are designated for individuals with serious mental illness who are experiencing homelessness.

The development has an estimated development cost of $24.6 million.

The County of San Diego also is providing $3.8 million in development funding for Benson Place through the through the Local Government Special Needs Housing Program of the California Housing Finance Agency. Additional funding partners include Judy & Roger Benson and their family, Pacific Western Bank, and The Richman Group.



Media Contact:

Scott Marshall

Vice President of Communications

San Diego Housing Commission



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