AFFORDABLE SENIOR HOUSING TO BE LGBT-AFFIRMING
CHW and The Center seek approval for proposed affordable housing in North Park
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SAN DIEGO – Dec. 11, 2014 – San Diego nonprofit, Community HousingWorks (CHW), presents its Arizona Street Development to the San Diego Planning Commission on Thursday, December 18th. The proposed development features a 76-home senior apartment building on the northwest corner of Texas Street and Howard Avenue and a 118-home multifamily building on the northeast corner. The proposal has already generated significant support from North Park residents and the official North Park Planning Committee voted overwhelmingly to support approval of the development.
CHW is partnering with the San Diego LGBT Community Center (“The Center”) in order to design the senior apartments as an affirming and supportive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors that includes universal design features to allow seniors to stay in their homes as they age.
While the senior apartments will be open to all who meet the age and income requirements, the LGBT-affirming complex is specifically meant to address a 2011 community needs assessment led by The Center that found LGBT-seniors’ highest concerns included fears of increasing social isolation, lack of access to culturally competent health and social services, financial concerns, and lack of access to safe, affordable, and affirming housing options. Sue Reynolds, CHW’s president and CEO, explains, “Our mission is to provide housing that meets the unique needs of each community, and this has been identified as one of the primary needs in the areas of North Park and Uptown.” The Center’s Senior Services staff will also provide services welcoming to the entire senior community to foster an active senior lifestyle. “We’re very enthusiastic about this collaborative project,” says Dr. Delores Jacobs, CEO, The Center. “LGBT seniors have very few options for affirming and supportive housing – and for our low-income seniors, the situation is even more difficult. This development provides a significant step in the direction of making sure LGBT seniors in San Diego can live with dignity. The fact that it’s a CHW development makes it even more exciting, as it gives us full confidence that it will be a safe, supportive, well-planned community that anyone would be proud to call home.”
The Arizona Street Development has received a prestigious endorsement from the MOVE Alliance, which recognizes developments that provide “Mobility Options Viable for Everyone.” The optimal location is only feet away from the new MTS Mid-City Rapid Bus, and with the North Park–Mid-City Regional Bike Corridor project underway, the development will have a regional bike corridor just out the front door on Howard Avenue, allowing residents to have increased access to the great amenities North Park and the surrounding neighborhoods have to offer. Both buildings will feature bike parking and repair space and encourage an active lifestyle with multiple options for getting around the neighborhood.
The community is also strongly in support. “CHW has proven itself to be a high-quality developer with its Kalos community on Florida Street,” explains Vicki Granowitz, Chair of the North Park Planning Committee. “Our committee overwhelmingly supported the proposed development. We like that it brings well-designed new housing options to our community, and also provides for seniors on limited incomes.” The proposed design provides a large open plaza at the northeast corner of Texas and Howard and significantly enhances the pedestrian experience along Texas Street. Building frontages on Howard Avenue and Arizona Street were designed to have a residential feel that complemented the existing residential uses on the opposite side of the street.
The development uses an affordable housing density bonus to help make the affordable development feasible. “With the loss of Redevelopment Agency funding in California, resources for affordable housing are very limited,” explains CHW vice president, Dave Gatzke, “so I’m thrilled that this mixed-income approach allows us to bring both high-quality market rate development to North Park and offset the gap in funding we have in building affordable housing.” Under the density bonus program, 23 of the senior apartments will be restricted to very low income households earning 50% or less of the county’s median income. CHW’s intent is to find additional funding sources and to break ground in 2016 with all 76 of the apartments to be affordable.
The City of San Diego Planning Commission will hold a Public Hearing to review the development at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 18th, and will make a recommendation to the City Council for its approval in January. Once the proposed development is approved by the Council, CHW can seek an allocation of low income housing tax credits, which will be instrumental to finance the development of all 76 senior apartments as affordable. As CHW’s senior vice president of real estate, Anne Wilson, explains, “Tax credits are allocated twice a year, and demand far outstrips supply. We believe this is a great development and are working diligently to make it a reality as soon as possible.”
About Community HousingWorks
Founded in 1982, Community HousingWorks (CHW) is a nationally-recognized 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that helps people and communities move up in the world through opportunities to own, rent, and achieve. CHW has a successful history over more than 30 years developing multi-family, affordable rental apartments and rehabilitating single-family homes for resale in urban, suburban and rural communities across Southern California. CHW has developed over 1,800 rental apartments in 32 communities, each designed to be healthy and vibrant communities that improve their neighborhoods and offer residents an array of programs to help them achieve their individual and family goals. CHW’s comprehensive programs serve more than 8,000 children and adults each year. CHW is San Diego County’s only member of the national NeighborWorks Network® and an award-winning affiliate of the National Council of La Raza. Learn more at www.chworks.org.
About the Center
The San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, Inc. (The Center) is the nation’s second oldest and one of the largest LGBT community centers. Functioning as the San Diego LGBT community’s anchor organization, The Center is led by a 13-member board of directors, employs over 40 paid staff and utilizes more than 800 community volunteers to achieve its twin goals of promoting LGBT health and human rights. The Center provides direct program services to the many different facets of the LGBT community, including youth, seniors, families, LGBT Latino community members and their families, and those struggling with HIV. Last year, The Center provided more than 61,000 service visits to San Diego community members, and through its events, activities and advocacy, touched the lives of thousands more.
The Center’s 2011 community needs assessment, LGBT San Diego’s Trailblazing Generation, can be found at: http://www.thecentersd.org/pdf/programs/senior-needs-executive.pdf
Access full-resolution artist rendering by Joe Cordelle. Architecture by Rodriguez + Associates Architects and Planners