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May 7, 2019

Grand Opening Celebrates 52 New Affordable Apartments with Supportive Services for Veterans who Experienced Homelessness

Alpha Lofts is supported by the San Diego Housing Commission’s homelessness action plan, HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO

SAN DIEGO, CA – As a member of the Voices of Our City choir and a veteran who has experienced homelessness, Mark had special reasons to raise his voice in celebration at today’s grand opening of the Alpha Lofts apartments in Normal Heights—his new home.

“It only became real when I put keys in that door,” Mark said of moving from temporary housing operated by Father Joe’s Villages to his new one-bedroom apartment at Alpha Lofts six weeks ago. “But it was that overwhelming for me that I fell on my knees and just sobbed like a child. It was just that emotional.”

A U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served for four years in the 1970s, Mark said he became homeless about seven years ago after a stroke and subsequent diagnosis with multiple sclerosis left him unable to work.

The San Diego Housing Commission’s (SDHC) homelessness action plan, HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, supported the development of Alpha Lofts, which provides 52 affordable, furnished rental apartments.

“With the completion of Alpha Lofts, 52 veterans who experienced homelessness have a place to call home,” SDHC Chair of the Board Stefanie Benvenuto said. “These studios and one-bedroom apartments are among the more than 6,000 housing opportunities HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO has created in less than five years.”

California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria, SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry and Chelsea Investment Corporation (Chelsea) President Cheri Hoffman were also among those who attended the grand opening of Alpha Lofts, which Chelsea developed.

“This community will provide quality housing to these people who sacrificed and served our country faithfully,” said Bob Cummings, Chelsea’s Government Relations Manager.

Alpha Project will provide the residents of Alpha Lofts with essential supportive services to help them maintain housing stability.

“The hope is that we’re going to be able to build thousands of units for our folks who have served our country, who give us the opportunity to be here today, having fun, moving into our small facility here. We need thousands more units,” Alpha Project President and CEO Bob McElroy said.

The studio and one-bedroom apartments at Alpha Lofts will remain affordable for 55 years for veterans with annual income up to 50 percent of San Diego’s Area Median Income—approximately $37,000 per year for a one-person household—who previously experienced homelessness.

Through HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, SDHC awarded 52 federal rental housing vouchers to Alpha Lofts to help residents pay their rent. These vouchers are connected to the units. So when a resident moves on, the voucher remains with the unit to help another veteran experiencing homelessness move off the streets.

SDHC also awarded a $5.2 million loan toward the development of Alpha Lofts, previously known as the Lofts at Normal Heights:

  • $3 million in HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds, awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to the City of San Diego and administered by SDHC; and
  • $2.2 million from the City’s Affordable Housing Fund, also administered by SDHC.

Additional development financing partners included Union Bank and the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA).

“We need developers like Chelsea, who are going to bring to bear their resources and their talent to build housing. And we need services providers—talented ones and tenacious ones—like Alpha Project, whose mission isn’t to manage homelessness, but to end it, and you need that aspiration to move forward. We are very, very grateful to be a part of their collaboration,” said Union Bank Managing Director Perica Bell. “We also want to thank our funding partners as well, the San Diego Housing Commission along with CalHFA, for their partnership and their tenacity.”

The estimated total development cost for Alpha Lofts is $19.7 million.

Residents at Alpha Lofts are identified through the regional Coordinated Entry System, which allows homeless housing providers to screen individuals experiencing homelessness for the most appropriate housing options based on who is most in need.

Alpha Lofts is located at 3808 El Cajon Boulevard, within walking distance to the State Route 15 Mid-City Centerline Transit Station. Additional amenities include laundry and community rooms, as well as energy-efficient features and water-wise landscaping.


Media Contact: 

Scott Marshall, Vice President of Communications

San Diego Housing Commission


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