December 18, 2018

‘HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO’ Development Provides 51 Apartments for San Diegans Experiencing Homelessness or with Low Income

San Diego Housing Commission partnership development will remain affordable for 55 years

SAN DIEGO, CA — The transformation of a hillside in Southcrest into 51 affordable rental apartments that will foster a sense of community among residents—including Veterans and families who previously experienced homelessness—was celebrated today with the grand opening of Vista del Puente, a San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) partnership development.

“This is a perfect example of what it means to actually build units that will be housing our Veterans, that are going to be housing our family members,” said San Diego City Council President Georgette Gómez, who represents Council District 9, where Vista del Puente is located. “So, I’m ecstatic; I’m excited. And we definitely need more.”

Developed by National Community Renaissance (National CORE) and Townspeople, Vista del Puente will include on-site supportive services—such as mental health services, substance abuse recovery, job training and job placement assistance—for residents who previously experienced homelessness.

“This really is going to be a successful project because it’s housing with supportive services. That is so critical when you’re going to help people; you really need the services,” San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts said.

Vista del Puente is among the affordable rental housing developments SDHC supports through HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, SDHC’s homelessness action plan. The apartments will remain affordable for 55 years.

“Creating new affordable units is the best way, the only way, really, out of the housing crisis,” SDHC Vice Chair of the Board Stefanie Benvenuto said. “To date, the San Diego Housing Commission has awarded more than $32 million in development funds through HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO and that supported the creation of over 470 new permanent supportive housing units, which is amazingly still not nearly enough.”

SDHC awarded 38 federal rental housing vouchers to provide rental assistance for Vista del Puente households that previously experienced homelessness and a $4.1 million loan toward the development of Vista del Puente:

  • $3.6 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds, which HUD grants to the City of San Diego and which SDHC administers;
  • $400,000 from the City’s Affordable Housing Fund, which SDHC also administers; and
  • $100,000 from Funders Together to End Homelessness that was awarded through the homelessness action plan to Vista del Puente for operational expenses.

With a total development cost of $21.5 million, Vista Del Puente provides 51 affordable rental apartments and one manager’s unit. The apartments range in size from one to three bedrooms:

  • 38 units for households experiencing homelessness
    • 26 for Veterans and their families
    • 12 non-Veteran households
  • 13 affordable rental apartments for families that have not experienced homelessness, but that have low income – up to 60 percent of San Diego’s Area Median Income, currently $58,380 a year for a four-person household.

“This project and the folks who put it together—between Townspeople, National CORE, the City Council, the Board of Supervisors—has to be, I can assure you, in the hearts and minds of those who will live in this property, one of the greatest holiday season presents they could ever receive,” said Rufus Washington, Director of HUD’s regional Community Planning and Development field office in Los Angeles.

Vista del Puente also received $3.3 million in funding from the Veterans Housing & Homeless Prevention Program (VHHP), administered by the California Department of Housing and Community in collaboration with California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) and the California Housing Financing Agency.

“In terms of return on investment, all you have to do is look over that hill and see the view, see the great units. It’s fantastic,” CalVet’s VHHP Program Manager Sean Johnson said.

Located at 1436 South 40th Street, Vista del Puente – which translates from Spanish to “View of the Bridge” – is located near two elementary schools, a park, a recreation center, an educational complex, a supermarket, and a library. Some units have a view of the Coronado Bridge.

“I do think that our construction team has done a phenomenal job making this site work and building a beautiful project that can be a beacon for the people who live here and for the neighborhood,” said National CORE President & CEO Steve PonTell.

The development includes two courtyards, a play area, a community meeting room and on-site office, a fully equipped communal kitchen, as well as a pantry, laundry and maintenance room. The site also includes a solar hot water system, energy efficient windows, a domestic solar hot water system, Energy Star appliances and fixtures, and new high efficiency heat/air conditioning systems. A photovoltaic electrical system, funded by the County of San Diego’s Innovative Housing Trust Fund, also will be installed.

“I understand, as we have noted, it’s hard to build these things, but on the other hand, the City Council as the Housing Authority, and the wonderful people from the Housing Commission are stewarding our resources in order to make sure that we get not just good housing, but a project that’s going to work into the future,” said John Romaker, President of the Townspeople Board of Directors.

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Media Contact:
Scott Marshall
Vice President of Communications
San Diego Housing Commission

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