Affordable housing complex breaks ground in East Palo Alto


East Palo Alto Mayor Donna Rutherford, San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum and other city and county officials marked the construction start of an affordable rental community for East Palo Alto seniors at a groundbreaking ceremony on March 17.

University Senior Housing is located at 2358 University Ave. and was developed by local nonprofit EPA Can Do and MidPen Housing. The $25 million development is expected to open in early 2017 and will provide 36 one-bedroom and five two-bedroom apartments for low-income seniors earning up to 60 percent of area median income, which is $49,260 for a single-person household, according to a press release from MidPen.

"University Avenue Senior Housing brings much needed affordable housing to our city's growing population of senior residents," Rutherford said in a statement. "It's a beautifully designed community that will be an asset to our city for years to come."

The complex, which is situated within walking distance of the East Palo Alto Senior Center, the city library, a pharmacy, a market, the fire station and a bus stop, will also feature a community garden, barbecue area, computer lab and community room with a kitchen.

Residents will also have access to onsite programs and services offered by MidPen, including health and wellness programs (group exercise classes, health fairs and educational workshops) and social programs (holiday parties and bingo nights).

Funding for the project was provided through public and private sources, according to a press release, including the City of East Palo Alto, County of San Mateo Department of Housing, Housing Authority of the County of San Mateo, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Equity Fund, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco AHP, HEART of San Mateo County, Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, Silicon Valley Bank and California Community Reinvestment Corporation.

EPA Can Do Executive Director Robert Jones praised the "culmination of a lot of hard work" that lead to the milestone.

"Creating a sense of place for our seniors here in East Palo Alto has been a longtime vision of EPA Can Do," Jones said in a statement. "... I am thrilled to see our vision become a reality."

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10 people like this
Posted by Lisa
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 22, 2016 at 10:15 am

What a feel good story. I'm happy for the future senior residents. It looks like a lot of attention was paid to the location of vital services (senior center, fire station, pharmacy, etc.) on the specific site.

5 people like this
Posted by Dean
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2016 at 1:26 pm

I am content that this should help a few, but there is a big gap between the people that this helps and the income level where a home is affordable. In short for people like myself, I would like to be able to buy a single family house, using my VA benefits (I am already qualified). I can't buy one because I would need between $100,000.00 and $1,000,000.00 for a down payment (VA is $0 down if the price is under $625,000.00). I essentially gave my EX my previous house to get her to agree to the divorce after a 10 year court battle. Attorneys are not cheap, I have no savings, so if I want to buy a house, (not a condo, townhouse or . . .) I have to leave the bay area even going to another state to get a reasonable house in a generally safe area.

I am positive I am part of a very large group who are in the same position. We are the ones the governments do not care about, we are earning a livable or a livable fixed income that is adequate in most of the US, but is inadequate in the bay area, so we have to struggle day to day. If my landlord raises the rent even by $100.00 month, I will have to leave the bay area. A lot of people will say good riddance, because we don't need you here any more, (I used to earn between $120,000.00 and $150,000.00 a year, and could afford to live here. Now I am about half that on a fixed income, but it is not enough.

Even Social Security discriminates, because the SS COLA increase for this year was zero because the price of gas had dropped, and that was a big part of the adjustment. Well older people do not drive all that much, so while the price drop was very welcome, everything else went up. Many cities are voting in a minimum wage of $15.00/hour, and while I think that is great, it will cause prices to be adjusted upward to cover the cost increase to their businesses. But, what about us fixed income people? Possibly we are not in the picture because most of us won't be around for much longer. The main author of Obamacare stated that people over 65 don't need to live anymore (by the way he is over 65 now, so what is his opinion now?), and prepared the Obamacare program to sort of push the over 65 people to a back burner, and take care of the younger people first regardless of the need.

Rant, RANT, RANT !!!

Does that make me feel better? Not really, as I should not have to RANT at my age.

Most people see me and think 55 or 60, well 80 is coming very soon, and while I would love to have even a part time job, age discrimination is alive and well. I would be hired if I was interviewed in person, but inputting an application on the internet, causes no response because it is my guess that the possible employers can see my age because of information I have to input. I have applied to at least 15 companies in the past 4 months without one acknowlegement that my application was even received. What would you think?

Have you had enough yet, or should I continue with the beating?

3 people like this
Posted by Oscar D.
a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2016 at 10:56 am

Love the fact there is affordable housing in an area where hi-tech is becoming norm and not the exception. It's the sign 'o the times these days. I personally cannot afford to purchase a home in the cities of the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. However, with affordable housing and with available programs to qualify you or your family for affordable rents as well., then in reality it can work for the good of all.

Like this comment
Posted by GreenAcre
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 28, 2016 at 11:57 am

Can the residents of Buena Vista apply for this housing ?

Like this comment
Posted by Anny
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 4, 2016 at 10:05 pm

Anyone know about the status of this affordable housing project? I read another article saying there's a water shortage so this project and other major developments are being put to a stop but I couldn't find more info on it. Anyone know? Thank you!

Like this comment
Posted by
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 20, 2016 at 3:24 pm

Hello My name is Tatyana Yankovskaya.Please send me application.Thank You

Like this comment
Posted by Nelvun
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 21, 2016 at 10:55 am

Where can I get a application for the senior building? Please advise.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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