June 25, 2020

AHSC Delivers Benefits to California Communities

Community benefits are an important part of the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program. AHSC achieves these benefits through investing in a diverse set of public infrastructure, including affordable housing, improvements to enhance bike and pedestrian safety, transit vehicle purchase, urban greening, programmatic components, free transit passes and more. The program also prioritizes investments that are informed by deep and authentic community engagement and which deliver multiple benefits, including improved air quality and better health outcomes. 

Mandela Station 

Mandela Station
Mandela Station, West Oakland

Mandela Station is a community-centered, transit-oriented development that will provide 240 homes in West Oakland. The project replaces a BART parking lot with a visionary new development that will create a pedestrian centered intermodal transit destination to become the cultural and economic heart of the community.

The project was developed in a partnership between Strategic Urban Development Alliance (SUDA), MacFarlane Partners, China Harbour Engineering Company and the City of Oakland, in direct response to community needs.

Through extensive community engagement, the newly established Community Advisory Committee identified the lack of neighborhood connectivity and mobility, access to community spaces and employment opportunities as priority issues. One of the highlights of the project is its partnership with the Hidden Genius Project which will provide onsite technology and entrepreneurship training for black male youth.

To improve bike and pedestrian safety and access to nearby amenities the development will help fund the installation of new bike lanes and Americans with Disabilities Act compliant sidewalks. The project will also help pay for additional BART cars.  

“From the very beginning, our team engaged the community for their vision at the West Oakland BART Station. Restore the economic dignity of the historic, black-owned business and entertainment district on Seventh Street as the centerpiece of West Oakland was a resounding theme," said Regina Davis, partner, SUDA. "The impact of the new locally-owned grocery stores, shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, music clubs, offices and micro-enterprises at Mandela Station will increase business-ownership and job opportunities along with affordable homes. The impact is the ability to afford to eat healthy, live, work and play in a more accessible San Francisco Bay area.”  

Legacy Square  

Legacy Square
Legacy Square, City of Santa Ana

Legacy Square is tailored to the unique needs of a traditionally Hispanic and underserved community in the City of Santa Ana. It will replace underutilized religious structures with a mixed-used development with 93 homes.

Legacy Square is a public-private partnership between National Community Renaissance of California (National CORE), Mercy House, the Santa Ana United Methodist Church (SAUMC), Metrolink and the City of Santa Ana. Thirty-three affordable apartments will be designated as permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless families. Local non-profit organizations such as Mercy House, Hope through Housing, the Bicycle Tree and Taller San Jose Hope Builders will be able to use the community space to offer supportive services.

Legacy Square addresses many of the concerns expressed by the community during the outreach program: safe streets, employment opportunities and accessible community spaces. Metrolink will construct a signal respacing project, and the City of Santa Ana will build the Santiago bikeway, sidewalk, crossings and pedestrian improvements and the Mortimer/6th Street urban greening feature.

"AHSC funding allows National CORE to invest in the future of communities, addressing the affordable housing crisis, bringing opportunities and resources to residents while reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Steve PonTell, CEO, National CORE. "In particular, Legacy Square represents a tremendous opportunity to serve the community of Santa Ana, the project design and features were shaped by the input of residents and community organizations and the vision of the Santa Ana United Methodist Church to make the land available to address community housing needs is to be commended.” 

Archway Commons II 

Developed by EAH Housing, the second phase of Archway Commons is located in the City of Modesto. This project will provide direct funding to 74 affordable homes for families. Archway Commons II pairs its housing investment with significant streetscape improvements connecting the neighborhood to Modesto’s Downtown Transit Center and Modesto Junior College.

The development's AHSC award also provides funding to modify an existing bus route, taking it off a local freeway and allowing for service to the housing site and surrounding neighborhood directly. This change in routing addresses community concern around bus stop accessibility and morning commute service gaps that existed previously.  

Additionally, Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) Rail will receive a new train car to increase service capacity along a major commuter line between the San Joaquin Valley and San Jose. The project will also ensure that community engagement extends beyond the AHSC application itself and includes a partnership with Catholic Charities to provide active transportation education and climate justice outreach to project area residents.  

“EAH Housing is excited to collaborate with the City of Modesto on a place-making strategy aimed at providing equitable housing and transportation solutions for residents of the Archway Commons development area. A project of this scope would not be possible without AHSC program funds," said Michael Schaier, EAH Housing. "Award proceeds will deliver affordable housing to 74 low-income families, enhance community access to local services and retail, encourage mode-shift by increasing active transportation options at and near the site, and improve regional mobility by creating access to the Downtown Transit Center with planned regional service provided by ACE rail. EAH is grateful for the positive feedback received on our housing and transportation plan and looks forward to delivering much needed affordable housing to the City of Modesto.”

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