The Escondido complex will provide housing for low-income homeless seniors
ESCONDIDO — An affordable housing complex that is expected to provide 50 housing units for low-income and homeless seniors in Escondido continues to move forward after its launch last month.
San Diego County announcement on January 10, construction was officially underway for the Valley Senior Village project in downtown Escondido. The project, which will provide affordable housing for adults 62 and older, is a collaborative effort between the county, the city of Escondido, National BASIS and San Diego Community Housing Corporation.
According to Ted Miyahara, president and CEO of the San Diego Community Housing Corporation, efforts to build the affordable housing complex have made significant progress over the past month.
“We have already done all of our grading work and a lot of the underground work, and we should be pouring the foundations in the next 30 days maybe…things are going according to plan,” Miyahara said.
Valley Senior Village is expected to be completed by May 2023.
Of the project’s 50 total units, all but one will be studios; 25 will be reserved for homeless people; 19 are reserved for seniors earning 50% of the area’s median income, or AMI, and the remaining five units will be for residents earning 60% AMI, according to Escondido Neighborhood Housing and Services Manager Holly Nelson.
The San Diego-based public housing agency originally pitched the concept to the county and Escondido in 2019, based on the city’s growing homelessness crisis, particularly among seniors, Miyahara said.
“Our bread and butter is affordable housing and as you know this area as a whole has had issues with homelessness…at the time we saw that the city of Escondido did not have housing specifically for the homeless, so we saw that as a huge need,” Miyahara said. we…proposed this project for seniors in the downtown Escondido corridor and saw this project as a great candidate.”
While the project was county-led, the Valley Senior Village proposal specifically addresses the needs of the Escondido community, which has the largest homeless population outside of North County towns, according to Nelson.
“Escondido has the highest number of homeless people in North County, and when you look at the vulnerabilities of people who fall into homelessness, you see that our population is very vulnerable…with our consolidated plan that is being done every five years, we wanted to help people who are overburdened and at risk, so the more housing we can add to communities, the better it is for everyone.
Residents of Valley Senior Village will also be able to enjoy a variety of amenities offered by the resort, including a community center set up by San Ysidro Health which will offer a variety of services, including programs for people with mental illness, outdoor gathering spaces and on-site case management for homeless seniors.
Residents will also be within walking distance of a host of shops, stores and services offered in downtown Escondido, while also having access to a variety of transportation options, Miyahara said.
“This project was a great candidate because it is transit-focused on Valley Parkway with the main thoroughfare going directly to the transportation depot, and it is also within walking distance of many amenities, like parks, libraries, grocery stores and the downtown strip.
The Village project will cost $24 million in total and is being funded by various sectors, including more than $10 million from the county Innovative Housing Trust Fund and Nothing better than being at homewhich provides funds for capital and operating expenses to developments providing housing for homeless and/or mentally ill residents.
An additional $4 million comes directly from the City of Escondido, and an additional $9.825 million is provided in the form of federal tax credits through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program. The project also received an $8.2 million loan from Chase Bank for construction purposes only, according to Miyahara.
By partnering with municipal and county entities, project developers have been able to secure loans at below-market mortgage rates as well as more favorable holdback provisions, Miyahara said, which in turn enables Valley Senior Village to offer affordable rental prices to tenants.
“The city and county measure this by looking at the public benefits you get in exchange for below-market-rate loans in exchange for flexible provisions…like is the public benefiting from this project? It’s really the measure,” Miyahara said. “With below-market loans and more relaxed retention provisions, this allows us to bring rents down to a more affordable rate for seniors.”
The complex is limited by deed to affordable housing, which means the apartments in the project must remain affordable in Escondido for at least the next 99 years.