On March 17th, 2017 at 1150 South Second Street, First Community Housing celebrated the beginning of construction of Second Street Studio Apartments. Once completed, this will be the largest permanent supportive housing project in San Jose and one of the first major projects dedicated to formerly homeless of its kind in San Jose’s history. Through the support of multiple funding sources including Project Based Vouchers for all units, this property will provide physical and mental health services for residents on the ground floor, in addition to resident services. Case Managers and Resident Service Coordinators will provide support to residents to promote wellness and self-sufficiency. “This project is a great example of the kind of supportive housing we can build and the partnerships we can make through the funding that will be generated from out Affordable Housing Bond that taxpayers approved last November,” said Santa Clara County Board of Supervisor President Dave Cortese. “ I look forward to coming back next year for the ribbon cutting.”
When delays due to the housing crash and the dissolution of the residential development agencies throughout the state brought the project to a halt in 2009 and 2011, First Community Housing got creative. Working to find alternate funding sources and communities to serve, the team was ultimately able to reimagine the project to serve those experiencing chronic homelessness. As the city worked towards solving the growing crisis of people experiencing homelessness, the needs of this group became clear. “We cannot end homelessness without a home. Homes like the ones First Community Housing are building today are more than just four walls and a door, they are medicine, they are safety, and they are the start of a brand new life. I couldn’t be more excited to see this remarkable project come to fruition and I’m so grateful to have such strong leadership committed to solving one of our most pressing social issues. I cannot wait to see this beautiful project open it’s doors.” Said Jennifer Loving, Destination: Home.
Permanent Supportive Housing provides residents with affordable housing with no time constraints on their stay at the property, as well as on site Mental and Physical Health services. By providing on site resources to meet many resident needs, this housing program seeks to reduce the need for emergency services. According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, “Study after Study has shown that supportive housing not only resolves homelessness and increases housing stability, but also improves health and lowers public costs by reducing the use of publicly-funded crisis services, including shelters, hospitals, psychiatric centers, jails, and prisons.”(1)
The diverse funding sources for this project show the interdepartmental interest in providing permanent supportive housing to the community. Project Based Vouchers will ensure affordability to all residents, while Tax credits support the construction costs. City of San Jose financial support was also instrumental in ensuring this project moved forward. 10 years after First Community Housing began working on Second Street Studios, Construction is underway with Branagh Inc. as the General Contractor. Modular Construction by Guerdon Enterprises LLC will cut 6 months off of the usual construction time for a project of this scale. Expected construction completion is October 2018. “We must continue to build more housing to begin solving the housing crisis felt so acutely by the residents across our region,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “The 135 homes we broke ground on today will provide critical housing and services for our homeless residents. I want to commend the First Community Housing group, Destination: Home and all advocates who brought Second Street Studio Apartments to life.”
The 5 story residential building will feature LEED platinum building design and will contain bike storage, a computer room and free building-wide internet, a community room and kitchen, an outdoor gathering space, Living Green Roof, Laundry facility, and on site Resident Support Services. “Our job is to provide people with permanent supportive housing to not only get them off the streets, but ensure they do not go back on the streets, by providing them with wraparound services,” said Supervisor Cindy Chavez. “This is exactly what First Community Housing is doing with the Second Street Studio Apartments project.” 134 units will be restricted to Chronically Homeless Individuals and there will be a unit on site for the property manager. This project will be located near transit and all residents will receive free VTA Eco Passes. Building materials will not contain Volatile Organic Chemicals, in order to provide a more healthful environment for the residents.
First Community Housing is very excited to arrive at this milestone in the process for this project and pleased to have Mayor Sam Liccardo, Senator Jim Beall, County Supervisors Cindy Chavez and Dave Cortese and so many other city and county officials join us in celebrating breaking ground on this property that will help so many people.