Grand Opening Celebrates More Than 400 New Affordable Rental Apartments for Households with Low Income in East Village
Joseph and his 7-year-old daughter are among the hundreds of San Diegans for whom a new affordable housing development in East Village, which celebrated its grand opening today, will provide a life-changing opportunity to restore their quality of life in a stable home of their own, developed with support from the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC).
“I was able to give my daughter a Christmas gift like no other, a home – a permanent home,” said Joseph, who lived in a car and in hotels with his daughter before finding stable housing at Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa, which Father Joe’s Villages and Chelsea Investment Corporation developed. “Even though our Toyota brought us together literally and figuratively, Abigail and myself are both excited to have our own room—hers in pink and mine not in pink.”
Essential financing overseen by California State Treasurer Fiona Ma supported the development.
“I oversee the tax credits and the bonds that went into building this project,” Treasurer Ma said. “On behalf of my state agencies, we are very honored to be part of this amazing, innovative, historic project.”
The Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa development, named in honor of Mother Teresa, includes 270 affordable apartments specifically for San Diegans experiencing homelessness. An additional 133 apartments are affordable for households with income up to 60 percent of San Diego’s Area Median Income. All of the apartments will remain affordable for 55 years. The development also includes four managers’ units.
“Housing ends homelessness,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said. “I’m often asked, ‘How can you solve this problem?’ This is how we solve this problem. I’ll tell you with, 407 units here, this is a huge chunk of the problem. We need about 16 to 20 more of these across our county if we want to truly solve this problem.”
The County of San Diego awarded a $15.7 million loan to the development through County’s No Place Like Home program, which provides funding for the creation of affordable housing for people with serious mental illness who experience homelessness or are at risk of homelessness.
“It may be named after a miracle maker, but it is not a miracle that your city, your county, your state are incredibly generous. Philanthropist partners, our incredible nonprofit partners, our development partners, all came together to say, ‘We’re going to do better. We can do better. We can get this done.’ And it is this spirit that we have today that culminates in a ribbon cutting,” said County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, the Chair of the County Board of Supervisors.
The 270 units set aside at this development for people who experienced homelessness are among approximately 10,000 housing solutions created in the last seven years through SDHC’s homelessness action plan, HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, for San Diegans experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced how essential it is for everyone to have a place to call home that they can afford,” SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry said. “The completion of Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa makes that a reality for hundreds of San Diegans with low income or who lived on the streets or in shelters.”
SDHC awarded 270 federal Project-Based Housing Vouchers to the Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa development to help pay rent for the residents who previously experienced homelessness. These housing vouchers include 16 Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers for veterans experiencing homelessness.
In addition, SDHC awarded $11.5 million in loans for the development, which consisted of federal and local funds SDHC administers for the City of San Diego: $9 million from the City of San Diego Affordable Housing Fund, and $2.5 million from federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded to the City.
SDHC also authorized the issuance of approximately $115 million in Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds to support this development. The City Council, in its role as the Housing Authority of the City of San Diego, approved the bonds.
SDHC, the City of San Diego and the Housing Authority of the City of San Diego are not financially liable for the bonds. Private sources of funds, such as revenue from the development, are used to repay the bonds.
San Diego City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera and City Councilmember Joe LaCava also attended the grand opening ceremony, as well as California State
Assemblymember Chris Ward and Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego John P. Dolan.
Father Joe’s Villages developed Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa in partnership with Chelsea Investment Corporation as part of Father Joe’s Villages’ “Turning the Key” initiative to add 2,000 units of affordable housing dedicated to people overcoming homelessness.
“With thousands of our neighbors living outside and in shelters as well, without homes of their own, these 407 units of affordable housing that Saint Teresa of Calcutta provides in the community are more important than ever. As a result of the hard work of countless organizations and individuals, many of whom are present today, we’re able to prevent and end homelessness of over 500 individuals,” said The Deacon Jim Vargas, President & CEO of Father Joe’s Villages.
“We are honored to partner with Father Joe’s Villages, with Deacon Jim and his team, to develop this incredible project that will so positively impact and transform the lives of so many. What a tremendous asset to this community,” said Cheri Hoffman, president of Chelsea Investment Corporation.
This development also advances the City of San Diego toward the Community Action Plan on Homelessness goal of creating more than 2,800 permanent supportive housing units over 10 years for people experiencing homelessness. Including the 270 units at Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa, approximately 1,500 permanent supportive housing units are in service, under construction or have received approval of their financing since the City Council accepted the Community Action Plan on Homelessness in October 2019.
Through its affiliate, St. Vincent de Paul Management, Inc., Father Joe’s Villages also will provide supportive services for the development’s residents who previously experienced homelessness, such as case management, life skills, and access to mental health and substance use services. Tenants will additionally have access to an array of services and resources offered at Father Joe’s Villages’ nearby campus.
“Can you imagine, for a moment, being homeless somewhere, and then walking into this place? You’d think you had died and gone to heaven,” said philanthropist
Terry Caster, who donated $10 million toward the development.
The State of California’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities, Supportive Housing Multifamily Housing Program, and Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention Program also awarded funding for the development. Additional financing partners for the Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa development include Citi Community Capital and Raymond James Affordable Housing Investments.
The development includes 1,000 square feet of community rooms on each of the residential floors, eight community kitchens, laundry facilities, and bicycle parking. Recreational activities, fitness, and multipurpose rooms, outdoor gathering areas, a dog run area, and a community garden also are available at the property.
A 24-hour on-site guard is one of multiple security features, and approximately 2,760 square feet of commercial space house on-site property management, social service staff, and resident-related amenity spaces.
The development includes a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments.