SAN DIEGO (CNS) — Leaders from homelessness-focused nonprofit Father Joe's Villages and Chelsea Investment Corporation Thursday cut the ribbon on Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa, a 407-unit affordable housing community for San Diegans who are transitioning out of homelessness.
The community is now move-in ready with units that will serve veterans, seniors, people with disabilities and families. Rental housing vouchers from the San Diego Housing Commission will help pay rent for 270 households that experienced homelessness before they moved into Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa.
An additional 133 apartments are affordable for households with income up to 60% of San Diego's Area Median Income. All of the apartments will remain affordable for 55 years. The development also includes four managers' units.
"Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa is a symbol of hope," said Deacon Jim Vargas, president and CEO of Father Joe's Villages. "Because of Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa, hundreds of people are gaining a new place to call home and a space of their own where they'll feel safe and supported in a community that will restore dignity and hope."
Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa was designed by Joseph Wong Design Associates and constructed by Level 10 Construction. Each apartment includes cabinetry and counters, kitchens and private bathrooms. The community will be LEED Gold-certified and will be powered in part through solar panels installed on some of the building's rooftops.
"Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa is a prime example of the housing needed to get our unsheltered neighbors into homes -- not only ending their homelessness but also providing the supportive services needed to lay the groundwork for a safe and healthy life," said Mayor Todd Gloria. "Bringing more than 400 individuals and families in from off the streets is a monumental step in the right direction and a genuine commitment to the principles of Housing First."
The Father Joe Carroll Memorial Promenade in front of the building is intended to honor the memory of the late Father Joe Carroll, who died in July 2021, and "highlight the humanity of those experiencing homelessness," a statement from Father Joe's read. The promenade and its statues, which includes a tribute to namesake Saint Teresa of Calcutta, were designed by designer and architect Jowaan Lee from J2 Ventures.
"Father Joe Carroll laid the groundwork for Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa in his tireless efforts to bring dignity and hope to people experiencing homelessness," said Terry Caster, one of Father Joe's Villages donors. "Saint Teresa of Calcutta embodies the importance of this community and cause, as she believed in the power of love and care to transform lives."
According to city data, on any given night, more than 7,600 San Diegans are unhoused. Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa is part of Father Joe's Villages' "Turning the Key" initiative which aims to bring 2,000 units of affordable housing to serve those experiencing or at-risk of homelessness.
"Opening these new units of affordable housing ensures at least 407 people will no longer be on the streets or facing housing instability, and instead will be on the path to living a better quality of life," said Nathan Fletcher, chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. "Our county's investment in this project is about much more than bricks and mortar, it's about supporting vulnerable San Diegans and delivering the services they need."
The county awarded a $15.7 million loan to the development through its "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.
Additional 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," Ma said. "On behalf of my state agencies, we are very honored to be part of this amazing, innovative, historic project."
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.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced how essential it is for everyone to have a place to call home that they can afford," said SDHC President and CEO Richard C. Gentry. "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."
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.
With Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa and Benson Place -- unveiled in 2020 -- Father Joe's has created more than 500 units of affordable housing, 25% of its goal.