This is the first in a series of profiles on residents living in AHSC-supported developments in California. This interview was conducted by Paige Dow in April 2018.
Located in the heart of downtown Hayward, Hayward Senior Apartments provides 60 homes that are affordable for extremely low, very low and low-income residents. The building is located less than a five-minute walk from the Hayward BART station, providing easy access to employment, entertainment and other amenities throughout the Bay Area. Not only is the building close to BART, it is also walking distance to jobs in downtown Hayward, as well as shopping and other conveniences.
The much-needed homes were supported in part by an Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) grant. In June 2015, Hayward Senior Apartments received $2.1 million in AHSC’s Round 1 funding.
Lobby Entrance of Hayward Senior Apartments
Two residents – Russell and Lincoln – spoke about their experience living in the apartment, noting the importance of the building’s prime location, especially for the senior population that it serves.
"It's a good location. Things that you need are right across the street. So everything's available and you don't have to just jump in your car. The bus runs right down the street, BART is right around the corner. This is what a senior needs, convenience, so that they don't have to worry about how they are going to get where they need to go."
- Lincoln, resident of Hayward Senior Apartments
“I would say in my own humble opinion, that it’s important to have buildings like this in an up and growing area because the senior population is getting a little bit bigger. And the senior population needs certain amenities and conveniences so that they can become more stable and productive people. There are some people who don’t have the mobility that I have so it’s really good to have buildings like this, especially in this area. Things are close and not so spread out.”
- Russell, resident of Hayward Senior Apartments
The convenient location of Hayward Senior Apartments is no accident. The AHSC program incentivizes and invests in projects that are located in walking distance to important necessities, such as jobs, transit and grocery stores. By investing in housing that is close to transit and other community resources, residents like Lincoln and Russell are able to reach destinations by alternative transportation modes to driving. This helps California to meet its climate goals, while also providing improved quality of life for residents. In fact, the Hayward Senior Apartments is expected to reduce 11,613 metric tons of carbon dioxide over the life of the project, or the equivalent of reducing 948,775 vehicle miles traveled annually.
As part of the Hayward Senior apartment’s AHSC application, the development provides 16 secure overnight bicycle spaces on site for residents. Russell discussed his appreciation for the bike parking, which makes it easier to use his bike.
“Because I don’t have to store a bike in my apartment, [it] gives me more room, and it’s secure. I just go downstairs, unlock the door, pull my bike off the rack and go for a ride. So it’s very convenient. I can bike to anywhere in this area. If I want to go further downtown, I can just hop on the bike and go."
In addition to providing bike parking spaces for residents, the Hayward Senior Apartments AHSC funding provided new bike lockers at the Hayward BART Station, adding convenience and security for residents and others in the community to ride their bike to the transit stop.
Russell on his bike
Lincoln and Russell also shared how living in Hayward Senior Apartments has benefitted their lives economically, socially and physically.
Lincoln emphasized the importance of housing stability that Hayward Senior Apartments has afforded him. “I feel comfortable and much safer and secure here than where I was before. Because I can afford it. Over there, you know I didn't know whether I was going to be able to stay the next month because they kept going up on the rent."
Lincoln playing pool in one of the common/lounge areas of the building
Russell’s business is located in Hayward but he moved to Oakland until the opening of Hayward Senior Apartments made it affordable to live in Hayward again. “I moved to Oakland because I found a place that was reasonable, rent wise. Once these apartments became available—I wanted to get back to Hayward—I jumped on the opportunity. I used to have to travel from Oakland to Hayward back and forth, back and forth. Now I’m centrally located where all of my business is."
Projects like Hayward Senior Apartments are transforming the lives of Californians, while also advancing California’s climate change goals. It is essential that California continues to invest in the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program so that more residents like Lincoln and Russell can benefit from the stability, security and convenience of affordable homes while also reducing California’s carbon footprint.