December 2, 2019
Grand Opening Celebrates 158 New Affordable Apartments for Families with Low Income and Individuals Who Experienced Homelessness
Stella and Bluewater are San Diego Housing Commission partnership developments that will remain affordable for 55 years
SAN DIEGO, CA – A U.S. Army veteran who experienced homelessness while struggling with cancer and other medical issues, James was staying at one of the City of San Diego’s Bridge Shelters when his case manager connected him with Stella, one of two San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) partnership developments that celebrated their grand openings today.
“Some people just fall and have hardships that it’s hard to break out of them,” said James, who experienced homelessness “for quite a few years” after he lost his wife and three children in a car accident. “We need to know that there’s hope there for us, too. And that people do fall between the cracks. And sometimes it’s good to look in those cracks to find those people.”
Developed by Affirmed Housing, Stella and the adjoining development, Bluewater, provide a combined 158 affordable rental homes for San Diegans with low income, including 87 permanent supportive housing units for individuals and veterans who previously experienced homelessness, like James.
“Housing and homelessness is our state’s most challenging crisis, and the hard work must continue, both at the state and the local levels,” California State Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins said at today’s grand opening celebration. “It’s days like today that inspire me to work even harder with my colleagues in the Capitol, our partners in the local community and development community, and resident leaders in our neighborhoods.”
Low-income housing tax credits administered by the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC) helped to finance the developments of Stella and Bluewater.
“Housing is a crisis at this moment, and for us to be able to expand our economy, create more jobs, lure more jobs, we need the housing for folks,” said California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, who oversees CTCAC.
Stella consists of 79 permanent supportive housing units for San Diegans who have experienced homelessness—62 for individuals and 17 for veterans—with income up to 40 percent of the San Diego Area Median Income (AMI), currently $34,250 per year for a two-person household. 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, currently $69,550 for a family of four. All of these apartments will remain affordable for 55 years. Each development also has a manager’s unit.
“These are special days. And they’re special because all of you have come together because you believe in what this means to our city,” San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said. “And it’s not just the beautiful, gorgeous buildings. It’s what it means to a family, to an individual that has a place of their own now that didn’t used to have that.”
The Stella and Bluewater developments are in San Diego’s Grantville community, next door to a market-rate multifamily housing development and approximately a half mile away from a San Diego Trolley station, hospital and grocery store.
“With the government incentives that we have put in place and the zoning surety that we have put in place for the developers, 27 percent of the housing being built here in Grantville is affordable housing,” said San Diego City Councilmember Scott Sherman, whose district includes Grantville. “Secondly, and I think more importantly, the main reason we’re seeing this here in Grantville is because the community in Grantville has embraced this type of development.”
SDHC’s homelessness action plan, HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, supported these developments.
“At the Housing Commission, every month we’re looking at these things as numbers, and it’s a completely different thing when you look behind me here and imagine that that entire building will be filled with people who, up until this point, we may have walked by on the street as our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness,” SDHC Vice Chair of the Board Ryan Clumpner said. “And to imagine the physical impact of this building is just really phenomenal.”
SDHC awarded 62 project-based housing vouchers and 17 Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers to Stella and eight VASH vouchers to Bluewater. These vouchers help pay the rent for residents who previously experienced homelessness.
Through HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, SDHC also invested a loan of $7.5 million toward the development of Stella:
- $3.8 million in HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) funds the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awards to the City of San Diego and SDHC administers, and
- $3.7 million from the City’s Affordable Housing Fund, which SDHC also administers.
For Bluewater, SDHC invested a loan of more than $9.4 million toward the development:
- $2 million in HOME funds, and
- More than $7.4 million from the City’s Affordable Housing Fund.
In addition, SDHC authorized the issuance of more than $19.5 million in tax-exempt Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds to support the development of Bluewater. These bonds were approved by the City Council, in its role as the Housing Authority of the City of San Diego.
“At Affirmed, we like to dream and think big. And the development you see before you is the culmination of these two concepts,” said Jim Silverwood, President of Affirmed Housing. “I think it’s safe to say it’s a fine example of affordable housing.”
Additional partners included: HUD, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Boston Capital, US Bank, California Community Reinvestment Corporation, Interfaith Community Services, Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), and Solari Enterprises.
Amenities at Bluewater and Stella include community kitchens, indoor and outdoor spaces for residents to gather, and security features.
Both properties are fully occupied.
For more information about SDHC, visit www.sdhc.org.
Vice President of Communications