Long-term customer Community HousingWorks opens North Park Seniors

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NeighborWorks Capital helps finance LGBT community in San Diego

Our long-standing customer Community HousingWorks (CHW) opened its newly built North Park Senior Apartments development in San Diego in late April. We provided $1.5 million to a $4.6 million site acquisition loan from Community Housing Capital. It is one of only seven LGBT-affirming home developments in the U.S., and the first in San Diego. It is open to all senior citizens 55 and up who meet the income requirements of $37,500 (60% AMI for one person.)

One in five California seniors live in poverty, and many seniors in San Diego face housing challenges, including hostility and discrimination. A study run by the San Diego LGBT Community Center found that LGBT seniors are especially vulnerable, and felt uncertain about their future as they can lack family and social support. The study recommended finding a developer who could provide safe and affordable homes for seniors. The San Diego City Council unanimously voted to support the project.

We are proud to be CHW’s go-to acquisition lender. North Park is our fifth loan to them in our 16-year partnership.

“All of our projects use NeighborWorks Capital funding for predevelopment,” said Sylvia Martinez, CHW’s Project Manager for North Park Seniors. “North Park Seniors was an example of innovative financing. The acquisitions loan was well-priced and very flexible, meeting our need for a two-year hold on the property. The acquisition allowed us to entitle this mixed-income property, which resulted in proceeds that were reinvested into the affordable project.”

We worked alongside CHW throughout the acquisition process for the North Park property.

North Park exteriorNorth Park’s features include a 76-unit affordable senior apartment building and a 118-unit market-rate multifamily building developed by Alliance Residential. Construction began with a groundbreaking in July 2016 at the corner of Texas Street and Howard Avenue in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood. This is Community HousingWorks’ first mixed-income development, bringing both low-income and market-rate apartments to the community, and was financed through the help of multiple public and private partners.

The community is welcoming to LGBT seniors, with on-site services provided by the San Diego LGBT Community Center include resources, referrals and engaging activities to help improve quality of life and create a community of acceptance. These include educational sessions on senior issues such as living with Alzheimer’s, and social events like shared meals so community members can get to know their neighbors.

More than 200 people attended the opening, including our Senior Loan Officer Tamar Sarkisian. At the opening, a few residents offered tours of their new homes.

“It’s always very touching to hear the residents’ personal stories and the impact that their new homes have had on their well-being and quality of life. You can see that the residents take such pride in their homes,” Sarkisian said. “CHW is committed to building homes equal to market-rate, and they really strive to provide high-quality, clean, habitable living spaces for the communities they serve.

“I think we often take for granted the importance of having a clean and safe home, and the impact that this has on our quality of life. During the event, it was noted how important these types of homes are for low-income seniors since it will provide access to clean drinking water and a safe place to store medication, ensuring that they can comfortably and consistently take their medication, which could improve their health and prolong their lives.”

The opening of North Park this year helped Community HousingWorks celebrate its 30th anniversary. While this was a first of its kind development for CHW, they are driven to work on similar projects.

Community HousingWorks was founded in 1988 and develops, rehabilitates, preserves and operates affordable apartment communities in San Diego and throughout California. In addition to providing stable homes, Community HousingWorks offers programs, services, and connections to resources to help people attain financial stability, improve health and well-being, and help school-age children in the classroom and beyond.

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