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May 15, 2019

HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO Development: 84 New Affordable Apartments with Supportive Services for Veterans Experiencing Homelessness

Zephyr, a San Diego Housing Commission partnership development, will remain affordable for 55 years

SAN DIEGO, CA — The transformation of a former motel into affordable rental apartments with supportive services for veterans experiencing homelessness—whose lives also are being transformed—was celebrated today with the grand opening of Zephyr, a San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) partnership development.

“I’ve got a home now. I’ve got somewhere safe and sound. I’m kind of in charge of my future with the chance of a lifetime. With God’s help, I can write a different ending to my story,” said 55-year-old Brian, a U.S. Navy veteran who lived on the streets of downtown San Diego for nearly five years but now calls Zephyr home.

The developer, Affirmed Housing, reconfigured the former motel at 4370 Alvarado Canyon Road in the Grantville neighborhood into 84 new rental apartments for veterans like Brian.

“Projects like this show the people in the community that when we work together, we can help address the homeless situation. At the bottom of our homeless problem is housing. There just isn’t enough housing,” said City Councilmember Scott Sherman, whose district includes the location of Zephyr.

Zephyr will remain affordable for 55 years for veterans with income up to 40 percent of the San Diego Area Median Income, approximately $30,000 per year for a one-person household.

“The Zephyr development we’re celebrating today is an outstanding example of an innovative solution to homelessness in San Diego,” SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry said. “These apartments are another important part of the San Diego Housing Commission’s homelessness action plan, HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO. Since it began less than five years ago, HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO has created close to 6,500 housing opportunities for San Diegans experiencing homelessness—including the units here at Zephyr.”

Through HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, SDHC awarded 84 federal rental housing vouchers to Zephyr 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 $3 million loan toward the development of Zephyr:

  • $2.9 million from the Community Development Block Grant Affordable Housing Revolving Loan fund, awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to the City of San Diego and administered by SDHC; and
  • $100,000 from the City of San Diego’s Housing Trust Fund, which SDHC also administers.

“One hundred motel rooms were renovated and redesigned to offer single, efficient apartments, offering kitchenettes and a private bathroom. Of course, the adjacent community building … houses our community space and all the management and supportive services, which are equally important to the future success of this development. This project truly represents teamwork at its finest,” said Jim Silverwood, President of Affirmed Housing.

Additional financing partners included California Community Reinvestment Corporation, Raymond James Financial, and the State of California’s Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention (VHHP) Program. VHHP provided approximately $6.3 million toward the development of Zephyr, which has an estimated total development cost of $27.2 million.

“With the VHHP, the Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention program, we to date have issued 62 or 63 different grants and awards to different groups throughout the state to develop facilities—the Zephyr project here being one of the first that’s been done. This model of developing is certainly interesting and is something that we push,” said Keith Boylan, Deputy Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

Zephyr residents will have the opportunity to receive on-site supportive services from People Assisting the Homeless (PATH).

“PATH’s role is to provide case management services by empowering the residents to identify the priorities and specific needs that will directly improve overall health and wellness. These services may include links and connections to medical, mental health and other social services. We also offer assistance with transportation, managing finances, re-establishing and identifying social support systems, activities and community integration. Case management services is the critical component to support veterans in the long-term success in their new homes,” said Jonathan Castillo, Regional Director of PATH.

The rental units at Zephyr received updated bathrooms and new flooring, walls, and kitchenettes.

Zephyr is located within walking distance of a trolley and bus station, as well as shopping and medical centers. The development also included the addition of new building systems and enhancements for aesthetics, accessibility, and sustainability, such as a community garden with raised flower beds near the entrance.

Zephyr residents 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.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore also attended today’s grand opening, as well as representatives from the offices of California State Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, State Assemblymember Shirley Weber, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, and San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, who presented ceremonial certificates to Affirmed Housing.

For more information about SDHC, visit


Media Contact: 

Scott Marshall,

Vice President of Communications

San Diego Housing Commission 


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