Project Category: Building Affordable Housing
Organization Name: Innovative Housing Opportunities
Organization Website: http://www.InnovativeHousing.com
19772 MacArthur Blvd., Suite 110
Irvine, California 92612
Project Cost: $32,178,396
This project demonstrates that “triple bottom line” is more than a sexy phrase. Rockwood Apartments is high quality affordable housing for the most vulnerable residents in Anaheim. It is designed in a contemporary Craftsman-style with interior design features and custom light columns that double as both path lighting and public art. The award-winning project has achieved a minimum Silver LEED certification and was completed under budget.
Rockwood Apartments is home to 70 households–many of whose children have never lived outside of a car, tent or motel room. Forty-eight of the apartment homes are set aside for families who were homeless with children in the Anaheim Unified School District as part of the city’s Homeless Assistance Pilot Program (HAPP). Another fifteen are set aside as permanent supportive housing for residents who receive services through the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). Six apartments are for large families.
This project is a true collaboration between the developers, Innovative Housing Opportunities (IHO) and Jamboree Housing Corporation (Jamboree), the City of Anaheim, the County of Orange, the Anaheim Unified School District, Homeless and other supportive services providers, and the community at large. Because of the collaborative nature of the project, the team was able to identify, acquire and assemble several parcels and undertake a complex relocation process, design and entitle the project, and submit for tax credits (and win on the firs round) with less than 90 days before the TCAC deadline. Has any one component of the team not performed to its highest ability, more than 145 children would still be homeless or at risk of homelessness today.
What is the most affirming is that this permanent supportive housing community has established the benchmark by which the city of Anaheim consider all new housing developments–affordable or market rate, in terms of design, property management, and services integration!
Current Status: Completed and occupied for 8 months
Community Needs Addressed:
The City of Anaheim, Anaheim Unified School District, and the County of Orange were concerned that a number of school-aged students were either homeless or at risk of homelessness. Housing insecurity has a negative impact on the students’ ability to concentrate and perform in school, exacerbates behavioral challenges, and has a detrimental ripple effect in the lives of these students, their families and their communities. The Homeless Assistance Pilot Program (HAPP) was established to address this concern. Because Rockwood Apartments is located directly adjacent to Lincoln Elementary School, it served as the ideal pilot project to test the relationship between housing, education, and improved social outcomes. IHO and Jamboree, along with the County of Orange and partnerships with several community stakeholders, are learning to implement new, strategic programs to work with these families to break the cycle of poverty. It has been a daunting task within the budgetary and staffing constraints of the the typical tax credit deal, but has resulted in creativity and more intentional collaboration across sectors to meet the needs of this very special population. We are proud of the direction we are going and hopeful that this pilot will serve as a catalyst to other special needs and mixed population communities.
Benefits and outcome:
This project is a laboratory for learning to work more effectively and efficiently with complex and mixed population housing communities. By creating community space on site, we can offer our facilities so that partners can bring services directly to our residents thereby improving resident participation by eliminating the legitimate excuse of lack of transportation or childcare as a rationale for nonparticipation.
Understanding our residents as well as the goal of the public agencies and other partners involved in this project allowed the developers to design the project with a broad range of public and common areas to meet the needs of all age groups–even on a constricted, urban infill site. Having spaces where little ones, youth, and adults can interact independently means there is less opportunity for negative interaction or loitering. Rockwood Apartments has a play yard that is visible form most apartments, a half-basketball court for the teens and adults, and ample open space on the courtyard with pockets form smaller more intimate gatherings. In addition, the courtyard doubles as a movie theater under the stars to encourage positive family activities–which are critical to building healthy thriving residents.
Finally, the site was originally a collection of residential, warehouse, and commercial spaces It was unsightly and inappropriate mix of uses. Now the neighborhood has three very attractive, affordable developments that are influencing the neighborhood in a very positive direction. During the community meetings, the neighbors actually supported the project. The attractive design and strong management has brought about a YIMBY culture. As a result a new Councilman and a Senator have become some of our biggest fans. As a result, we have been able to walk city leaders and other decision makers from outside of Anaheim through this project as a means to help them consider the positive impact affordable rental housing can have in their communities.
Project partners and collaborators:
Developers: Innovative Housing Opportunities (IHO) and Jamboree Housing Corporation (Jamboree)
Lender & Equity Partner: Bank of America
Architect: Newman Garrison + Partners
Interiors: JAG Interior Design
Landscape: InSite Design
Light Column Design: LCW Group
General Contractor: Quality Development and Construction
Public Partners: City of Anaheim, County of Orange, Anaheim Unified School District
What makes your project unique?
Rockwood Apartments is an award-winning, catalytic new affordable housing development that combines high quality architecture and design, amenities, and art, with robust supportive services for an especially vulnerable mix of large families, formerly homeless households, and those living with mental illness. A joint venture between IHO and Jamboree, Rockwood Apartments was developed as a public/private partnership with the City of Anaheim, the County of Orange and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Specifically, out of 70 apartments, fifteen (15) are set aside as permanent supportive housing for residents who receive services through the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), 48 will serve families who are part of the Homeless Assistance Pilot Program (HAPP) which is a collaboration among the City of Anaheim, the Anaheim Union School District (AUSD) and the Illumination Foundation for families with school age children enrolled in AUSD schools. The reaming six (6) apartments are for large families.
This truly collaborative project has achieved several firsts: the first Homeless Assistance Pilot Program (HAPP) project, the first to take families directly from homelessness rather than through a transitional program, the first project where Jamboree also served as General Contractor through its Quality Development and Construction Division, and the first to incorporate public art and artwork that ties to the history of the community. This is also the first project in which IHO will implement its Economic Self-Reliance initiative which endeavors to equip residents with tools to develop strong, healthy habits, build their resources, and move towards housing independence. Considering the challenging backgrounds of our residents, IHO and Jamboree are working together to partner with community stakeholders to utilize the Apartments as a community resource where residents (and the community members) can live, dream and thrive!
Click here to download the complete awards submission