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September 20, 2019

Grand Opening: The Beacon Combines Homes, Supportive Services for San Diegans Experiencing Homelessness

New studios are among more than 7,600 housing opportunities that SDHC’s homelessness action plan, HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, has created

SAN DIEGO, CA – As a source of inspiration among ongoing efforts to address homelessness in the City of San Diego, The Beacon is a fitting name for the new San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) partnership development of 43 affordable rental studios with supportive services for San Diegans who have experienced homelessness.

“I’m often asked these days, ‘Can we end homelessness? How do we end homelessness?’ The answer is, ‘Yes, we can,’ and this is how you do it. The Beacon formula of permanent supportive housing, providing housing that people can afford, with the wraparound services that allow them to stay housed, is how we can end the embarrassment that is homelessness in the City of San Diego and in the State of California,” State Assemblymember Todd Gloria said at The Beacon’s grand opening today.

The residents of The Beacon will reflect a variety of individuals experiencing homelessness: including transitional age youth (which may include those who are exiting foster care), seniors, and individuals living with a disability.

“Many of our communities across San Diego don’t understand permanent supportive housing. They don’t understand what a beautiful opportunity this is, to have great new development right in your community, that’s consistent with community character, but is also doing a huge, huge social service as well,” said San Diego City Councilmember Chris Ward, whose Council District includes The Beacon, located at 1425 C Street, across the street from San Diego City College’s Saville Theatre, where today’s grand opening was held.

Studios at The Beacon will remain affordable for the next 55 years for residents with annual income of up to 50 percent of the San Diego Area Median Income – currently $37,450 for a single-person household. The Beacon also includes one unrestricted manager’s unit.

“This is real progress, and progress at a time when we desperately need it. San Diego and California are facing two major challenges. There are too many men, women, children and veterans sleeping in our streets, and too few housing construction cranes in the sky. This is what we need to change,” said Matt Awbrey, Chief of Civic and External Affairs for San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer.

Developed by Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation (Wakeland) in collaboration with SDHC, The Beacon is supported with development funds and rental housing vouchers SDHC awarded through HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, SDHC’s homelessness action plan.

“The studios here are among more than 7,600 housing opportunities that HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO has created in less than five years for San Diegans experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness,” SDHC Vice Chair Ryan Clumpner said.

SDHC invested a $3.2 million loan toward the development of The Beacon:

  • $2.5 million in federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) funds, which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awards to the City of San Diego and which SDHC administers; and
  • $700,000 from the City of San Diego’s Affordable Housing Fund, also administered by SDHC.

In addition, SDHC awarded 43 federal rental housing vouchers to The Beacon to help residents pay their rent. These vouchers are linked directly to the rental units, so that when a resident moves on, the studio will be available to help another person experiencing homelessness.

“This new community ties in very well – as I’m sure you will agree in looking at it – with the urban landscape and surrounding architecture of East Village. While living at The Beacon, our residents will receive a wide range of supportive services to help them succeed and thrive,” Wakeland CEO Ken Sauder said.

Depending on their needs, residents will receive supportive services from Father Joe’s Villages; Mental Health Services City Star; and Pathways Catalyst. Services provided will include behavioral health support and care, coordinated care, peer support, and educational, health and wellness, and skill-building classes.

In addition, each resident will receive case management from a dedicated staff member.

The supportive services, which will be provided on- and off-site, are critical to the success of the national “housing first” model of addressing homelessness, which is to provide housing as quickly as possible, with supportive services as needed.

“Projects like this fit extremely well within the continuum of care model that the County is advancing, wherein services and supports are closely aligned to best serve our clients,” said Cecily Thornton-Stearns, Assistant Director of Operations and Chief Program Officer at the County of San Diego Behavioral Health Services (BHS) Department, which is providing supportive services for 22 residents who are eligible for them under the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). BHS also committed $2.9 million in development funds through MHSA housing program for The Beacon.

Additional funding partners for the Beacon included the California Community Reinvestment Corporation and Well Fargo.

Representatives from the offices of U.S. Representative Scott Peters and California State Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins also attended The Beacon’s grand opening.

The total development cost for the newly constructed five-story building, which replaced two outdated buildings, was approximately $20 million. Design features include community gathering spaces, a courtyard, and office space for services providers.

Residents of The Beacon 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.

Residents moving into The Beacon also received move-in kits, which included bedding, kitchen utensils, cleaning supplies and a week’s worth of food, donated by Allgire General Contractors, M.W. Steele Group, KCM Group, Galaxy Protection, and Ryan Young Interiors, with matching funds from the Lucky Duck Foundation.

Nearly all of the affordable units at The Beacon are occupied, with full occupancy anticipated by the end of September.


Media Contact: 

Scott Marshall, Vice President of Communications


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