By Keith Loria, Contributing Writer
San Jose, Calif.—The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara has rehabilitated and upgraded the 125-unit senior citizen housing community, Cypress Gardens, in San Jose, Calif., thanks to a creative partnering of public and private parties.
“The building was built as public housing and funded by the federal government and every year there has been less and less capital money for the property,” Vanessa Cooper, HACSC’s director of real estate services, tells MHN. “We hadn’t been able to bring private money in, the federal money provided had been insufficient to upgrade the units and there was no air conditioning in the property.”
Built in 1984, the community had fallen into despair after years of neglect and deferred maintenance on the property. Since Cypress Gardens is home to 150 residents, mostly comprised of seniors, many disabled, HACSC felt it needed to act.
HACSC was able to solve the lack of federal funding help by getting out of the Public Housing program and teaming with public and private parties to find the money necessary to fix the problems.
“Cypress Gardens proves that public-private partnerships are a win-win formula for serving the affordable housing needs of our seniors, disabled, and homeless residents of Santa Clara County,” says Alex Sanchez, executive director of HACSC. “This is the kind of teamwork that can be achieved throughout the nation.”
The rehabilitation project began in November of 2010, and included the repair of major interior, exterior, and common use areas. Segue Construction Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif., was the contractor of the project and followed a budget of approximately $7.6 million.
“All the kitchen areas were upgraded and we put in all new systems,” Cooper says. “We added a new multimedia center with a new computer, expanded laundry equipment, new air conditioning and a new fire alarm system.”
Other improvements included adding new exterior siding, new windows, new paint, a new walkway, improved landscaping, new appliances, new floor coverings and fixtures and new common area kitchen appliances.
Cooper says that the rehabilitation of Cypress Gardens also added approximately 80 jobs to the local economy, including construction workers, legal and architectural professionals, as well as city building inspectors.
“We now have a brand new building and a safer space for our tenants,” Cooper says. “Our unique teaming of public and private interests has resulted in a safer, more comfortable, and enhanced living environment for many of our most needy senior citizens.”
HACSC is the largest provider of affordable housing assistance in Santa Clara County, using the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to develop affordable rental housing.
Over the past three years, HACSC has rehabilitated and upgraded 555 Public Housing Units by leveraging more than $90 million in private funds from Low Income Housing Tax Credits, tax-exempt bonds, and commercial loans.