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July 14, 2016

Raising of Final Beam Marks Construction Milestone of Affordable Housing Apartment Development for Homeless and Low-Income San Diegans

San Diego Housing Commission partnership development will provide 202 affordable units in downtown San Diego

San Diego, CA — A crane hoisted the final beam to the 12th floor of Atmosphere, marking a construction milestone for the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) partnership development that’s replacing a vacant lot in Downtown San Diego with 202 affordable housing units, including 51 units to address homelessness.

Today’s placement of the final beam, which was carrying a small evergreen tree and American flag, is a tradition celebrating the halfway point of construction, known as “topping out.”

California State Assemblymember Toni Atkins, former speaker of the Assembly, said more developments like Atmosphere are needed to solve the State’s affordable housing crisis.

“California has the highest percentage of homeless people in the nation, many of them are Veterans, so we have a need for permanent supportive housing, and we have a need for family housing for people who are living near the edge of vulnerable,” said Assemblymember Atkins, who signed the beam, along with development partners, before it was lifted to the 12th floor.

The 202 rental units at Atmosphere will be affordable to individuals and families with annual incomes from 30 to 60 percent of San Diego Area Median Income, approximately $25,500 to $51,000 for a four-person household, addressing the growing challenge for low-income familiesseeking an apartment they can afford in the city.

“Atmosphere will help to revive the affordability in this neighborhood with a beautiful building that looks just like those luxury condos down the street,” said Ken Sauder, CEO of Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation, which is developing the project.

Atmosphere’s 202 units will remain affordable for low-, very low- and extremely low-income households for up to 55 years.

SDHC invested a $3 million loan toward the $79.5 million total development cost of Atmosphere. The SDHC loan consists of $2.3 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds awarded to the City of San Diego, and administered by SDHC, and $700,000 from the City of San Diego’s Inclusionary Housing Fund, which is also administered by SDHC.

In addition, SDHC authorized the issuance of $25,687,989 in tax-exempt Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds toward the development of Atmosphere. The San Diego City Council, sitting as the Housing Authority of the City of San Diego, approved the loan and the bonds.

“Atmosphere is also important to HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, SDHC’s three-year Homelessness Action Plan to create additional affordable housing,” said SDHC’s Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Debbie Ruane.

The development will provide 51 supportive housing units for adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including 31 units for adults with mental illness, 10 units for seniors and 10 additional units for adults.

SDHC has committed 51 Federal rental housing vouchers to Atmosphere with an annual value of $504,288 to provide rental assistance for these units. When a tenant moves out, the rental assistance will remain with the apartment to help another homeless San Diegan rebuild their life. With these vouchers, tenants will pay up to 30 percent of their income toward rent.

These 51 vouchers are among 1,500 Federal rental housing vouchers SDHC has committed to provide housing opportunities for homeless individuals and families over three years in HOUSING FIRST–SAN DIEGO.

Construction is scheduled for completion in spring 2017.

For more information about SDHC, please visit


Media Contact:
Maria Velasquez
Sr. Vice President
Communications & Legislative Affairs

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