affordable housing
Lawmakers helped developer Community HousingWorks break ground on the Cortez Hill Apartments Friday. Photo via @CHWorks Twitter

Developer Community HousingWorks broke ground on the Cortez Hill Apartments Friday, which when finished will provide 87 affordable housing units, including 14 for people experiencing chronic homelessness.

The developer obtained a $5 million loan and rental housing vouchers from the San Diego Housing Commission for the project. In addition, SDHC authorized the issuance of up to $21.2 million in tax-exempt Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds and up to $10.2 million in taxable bonds, which the San Diego City Council approved in its role as the Housing Authority. The city is not liable for the bonds, which will be repaid with private sources of funding, such as revenue from the development.

“We need more of this, not just in downtown; it’s not just in San Diego,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “If you’re with me, whenever you see an opportunity — whether it’s at the kitchen table with that neighbor that does not like more housing in your neighborhood, whether it’s your friends on social media who maybe talk about housing being a bad thing, it’s not.”

“It’s necessary for a civilized society and what we need to be successful as a community and city,” he said.

SDHC awarded 87 rental housing vouchers to help pay rent for the residents at the property when it is completed. The vouchers will be linked directly to the development. When a resident moves on, the voucher will remain to help another eligible household.

“We are so deeply excited to be celebrating this day,” Community HousingWorks CEO Sean Spear said. “It recognizes that we, all of us, and especially on the lender and city side, this was a long road to get to this point of the groundbreaking.”

People Assisting the Homeless will provide case management services for the residents who experienced homelessness and additional services for all residents.

Site amenities will include a community room, computer learning centers and an outdoor community space that will provide resident services and programs. The community room will include a kitchen, restrooms, bike storage, a computer lab and meeting and gathering spaces. An on-site laundry facility will be accessible from the courtyard.

Financing for the development also includes low-income housing tax credits, which California State Treasurer Fiona Ma’s office administers.

The rent for units at Cortez Hill Apartments will be affordable to households with income of 30% to 40% of San Diego’s Area Median Income, or $33,100 to $44,100 per year for a two-person household.

On Thursday, the SDHC and Affirmed Housing opened The Helm, an affordable housing development with 77 units, also on Cortez Hill.