Two non-profit housing developers are filling an urgent need in the Bay Area for affordable, transit accessible housing.
MidPen Housing’s motto is “Building Communities. Changing Lives.” A prime example is its newly completed Donner Lofts, a high-density, mixed-use development in downtown San Jose within easy walking distance of Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail, seven bus lines and a potential future BART station. The $31 million project, developed on a half-acre of land, consists of 102 affordable apartments, with 20 studio apartments reserved for formerly homeless persons. The Lofts includes 2,500 square feet of retail space, a computer lab, an exercise room, a community room and an outdoor courtyard. Residents also have access to on-site financial literacy courses, vocational development resources and case management services.
With a parking garage of only 51 spaces, MidPen has worked to reduce the number of privately owned cars parked on-site and to promote tenants’ use of public transit and other transportation alternatives. MidPen instituted a preference for tenants who self-certified they did not own an automobile. It provides monthly VTA EcoPasses to all residents, along with transit route and schedule info. MidPen also connects residents to local car-sharing opportunities.
Eden Housing is also addressing the acute need in the Bay Area to build and manage high-quality, affordable housing for low-income families, seniors and persons with disabilities. Its properties include Ford Road Plaza and Monterey Villa in San Jose, and Weinreb Place in Hayward. All three properties are strategically located near public transit, and provide amenities such as community rooms and computer learning centers.
Ford Road Plaza has 75 affordable rental homes for families, while the adjacent Monterey Villa offers 23 apartments for persons with disabilities. Together, these two developments have transformed a vacant parking lot into an inviting residential community with access to Caltrain as well as VTA buses and light rail. Meanwhile, Weinreb Place provides 22 affordable rental apartments for seniors. The project is across the street from the Hayward BART station and within walking distance of City Hall, the library, a grocery store, banks and retail stores.
Not only are MidPen Housing and Eden Housing working hard to house low-income individuals and families, but they are also helping residents live a healthier, car-free lifestyle.