2021 Ruby Awards

The San Diego Housing Commission’s collaborations on affordable housing projects garnered several awards, the commission announced Monday.

Presented by the San Diego Housing Federation, the Ruby Awards honor “excellence in affordable housing and community development, highlighting the accomplishments of people, agencies and developments that work to ensure all San Diegans, regardless of income, have a safe, stable place they can afford to call home,” according to a news release.

The awards were presented during an online ceremony last Thursday.

SDHC received the Ruby Award for “Innovations in Response to COVID-19” for its purchase of two extended-stay hotels to create 332 permanent affordable housing units, with access to supportive services for people experiencing homelessness, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

State Assemblyman Chris Ward, who presented the award by video, referred to the purchase of the hotel properties as a “game-changing opportunity.”

SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry said his group “is honored by this recognition and congratulates the organizations we collaborate with for their outstanding work.”

“These awards reflect the importance and success of a variety of organizations working together to achieve solutions to create affordable homes for households with low income or experiencing homelessness,” Gentry said.

SDHC’s purchase of the hotel properties also earned the City of San Diego the “Government Agency of the Year” Ruby Award. The city and SDHC collaborated on the purchase.

Operation Shelter to Home also was cited among the city initiatives that contributed to the recognition. The program was a collaboration among the city, county, SDHC, Regional Task Force on the Homeless, San Diego Convention Center and homelessness service providers.

Launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Operation Shelter to Home included a temporary emergency shelter at the city Convention Center and helped more than 1,400 people with permanent or longer-term housing.

Additionally, the San Ysidro Senior Village development received the Ruby Supportive Housing Award and Environmental Award. Developed by National Community Renaissance (National CORE) in partnership with the SDHC, San Ysidro Senior Village provides 50 affordable rental homes for senior citizens who experienced homelessness.

SDHC gave 50 federal vouchers to help San Ysidro Senior Village residents pay their rent and also provided a $760,000 loan — courtesy of federal and San Diego city funding — towards project development.

In other categories, San Diego Habitat for Humanity received the “Project of the Year — New Construction” award for developing 11 town homes in Logan Heights for first-time homebuyers.

SDHC committed up to $770,000 through its First-Time Homebuyer Program to help eligible families buy homes at the COMM22 development.

The San Diego Housing Federation also honored the Chicano Federation with the “Innovations Award” for a rental assistance program. Chicano Federation operates nine affordable rental housing properties, with more than 300 units housing over more 700 residents.