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July 27, 2020

San Diego Housing Commission and Development Partners Honored with National and Local Awards

SAN DIEGO, CA – The San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) and its affordable rental housing partnership developments have been honored with national and local awards for innovation and excellence that were announced last week.

“These awards recognize the ongoing outstanding, collaborative work of the San Diego Housing Commission and our partners to provide affordable housing solutions for families with low income or experiencing homelessness,” SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry said. “I thank Mayor Kevin Faulconer, City Council President Georgette Gómez and the entire City Council, the Housing Commission’s Board of Commissioners, our staff and partners for their support of innovative housing solutions.”

SDHC received four Awards of Merit from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), which recognizes innovative housing and community development projects, programs, and services. Two of the SDHC initiatives that received these awards—the Rental Assistance Inspection Automation and New Palace Hotel Rehabilitation—are finalists for NAHRO’s Awards of Excellence, to be announced later this year. NAHRO awards up to 24 Awards of Excellence nationwide annually.

Additionally, three SDHC partnership developments received Ruby Awards from the San Diego Housing Federation. The Ruby Awards are “the county’s largest affordable housing industry recognition event honoring the best people, projects, and achievements during the past year.”

NAHRO Awards of Merit

Administrative Innovation

  • Landlord Services & Support – SDHC enhanced the services and support it provides to landlords to increase the appeal of landlord participation in the federal Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. More than 600 new landlords joined the program in 2019. Landlords are essential partners of SDHC’s federal rental assistance program, which helps more than 15,500 low-income households pay their rent. SDHC implemented a wide-ranging approach, including SDHC’s mobility counseling services, Landlord Advisory Committee, Landlord Services Unit and an online Rent Affordability Calculator.
  • Rental Assistance Inspection Automation (NAHRO Award of Excellence Nominee) – SDHC automated its process of scheduling and providing results for Housing Quality Standards inspections, which previously included manually filtering Excel files for an average of 1,500 inspections per month. The automation process SDHC implemented increased efficiency, reduced staff time and enabled SDHC to conduct initial inspections within three days. SDHC purchased optimization software to support this automation. In addition, SDHC utilized a feature in the agency’s existing telephone system to auto-dial rental assistance participants and property owners to provide notifications and reminders of inspection appointments. SDHC is required to ensure that all housing units occupied by Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance participants meet Housing Quality Standards set by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.

Affordable Housing

  • Encanto Village – An SDHC partnership development with National Community Renaissance (National CORE), Encanto Village is now home to 65 families with low income—including eight veterans who experienced homelessness. It is located in a core area of Encanto, across the street from the Encanto/62nd Street Trolley Station, near schools, a park and retail, and envisioned as a growing business and housing corridor. Encanto Village also is a finalist for Affordable Housing Finance’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards and the Urban Land Institute Terwilliger Center for Housing’s Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Award.

Project Design

  • New Palace Hotel Rehabilitation (NAHRO Award of Excellence Nominee) – The rehabilitation of New Palace Hotel created essential additional permanent supportive housing for seniors who experienced homelessness or were at risk of homelessness. Previously a Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) residential building, New Palace Hotel was transformed into 79 affordable studio apartments by SDHC in partnership with SDHC’s nonprofit affiliate, Housing Development Partners (HDP). This was the first major renovation of New Palace in approximately 25 years and included energy-efficiency upgrades. Significant upgrades to New Palace included the addition of kitchenettes—complete with refrigerators, stoves, microwaves and garbage disposals—in each dwelling unit, along with all associated mechanical, electrical and plumbing requirements. Residents of the renovated New Palace receive federal rental assistance from SDHC and have access to a variety of supportive services.

Resident and Client Services  

  • Bridges to Career Opportunities – The SDHC Achievement Academy’s Bridges to Career Opportunities program helps participants pursue certifications for a career as a Certified Nursing Assistant or in the fields of Customer Service or Information Technology. Program participants obtain support, such as financial coaching, to set long-term goals and help manage expenses during training. Those who complete the training receive additional support, which may include assistance with additional certifications and continued job search assistance. The program is funded by a three-year, $190,000 grant from the national Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), with funding from the Citi Foundation

Ruby Awards

CSH Supportive Housing Award

  • The Beacon – An SDHC partnership development with Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation, The Beacon created 43 new affordable rental studios with supportive services for San Diegans experiencing homelessness and with annual income up to 50 percent of the San Diego Area Median Income. Residents of The Beacon include transitional age youth (which may include those who are exiting foster care), seniors and individuals living with a disability who experienced homelessness. The permanent supportive housing units at The Beacon are among more than 9,200 housing solutions created in five and a half years through HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, SDHC’s homelessness action plan.

Project of the Year – Rehabilitation

  • Zephyr – This SDHC partnership development with Affirmed Housing transformed a former motel into 84 affordable rental apartments with supportive services for veterans experiencing homelessness with income up to 40 percent of the San Diego AMI. Zephyr also is part of HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO. Residents receive on-site supportive services from People Assisting the Homeless (PATH).

Project of the Year – New Construction

  • Bluewater and Stella – Two adjacent developments in the Grantville community, Bluewater and Stella provide a total of 158 affordable rental units, including 87 permanent supportive housing units for San Diegans who previously experienced homelessness. Stella consists of 79 permanent supportive housing units—62 for individuals and 17 for veterans—with income up to 40 percent of the San Diego AMI. Bluewater provides eight permanent supportive housing units for veterans who have experienced homelessness and 71 affordable apartments for families with income up to 60 percent of AMI. Both were developed by Affirmed Housing in partnership with SDHC and are part of HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO.

In addition to these awards, in April SDHC’s Financial Services Department received the highest recognition from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for the 12th consecutive year. SDHC received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the Fiscal Year 2019 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. SDHC also received the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting from GFOA for the 10th year in a row.

For more information about SDHC, visit


Media Contact: 

Scott Marshall

Vice President of Communications


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