San Diego

Clairemont Residents Push Back Against Housing Development for Homeless Seniors

Concern is mounting in Clairemont as plans are coming together for a new apartment complex for homeless seniors.

The Ivy Senior Apartments development is slated to be built on Mount Alifan Drive just west of Balboa Avenue. It will have wrap-around services for once homeless, at-risk senior residents trying to make a life for themselves.

Developers say the 52-unit facility will be secure with strict rules and screening requirements, but neighbors are skeptical about the proposal.

Michael Doering was one of the Clairemont residents voicing their concerns at an informational meeting hosted Wednesday by Wakeland Housing and Development, the studio apartment developer.

“We don't want to become the capital of homelessness in San Diego,” Doering said. “What’s going to happen when they go outside the facility, into our community, into our neighborhood with mental issues?”

Seven of the 52 units at the complex are reserved for people with mental health issues.

The development hopes to help the homeless and mentally ill through supportive services, modeling strategy after the Talmadge Gateway on Euclid Avenue where there is onsite job training, healthcare and mental health services.

Rebecca Louie of Wakeland said the new project will allow residents to thrive and have a positive impact on the surrounding community.

“They’re really judging people who've been homeless based on maybe how they’ve seen them acting while there homeless versus how there acting once they’re housed. Having a home makes all the difference,” Louie said.

Jeffrey Najarian said he went from being homeless because of the cost of cancer treatments to gainfully employed, and he credits housing projects like Ivy.

“I got into a supportive housing project in 2007 and it changed my life,” he said. “Within nine months I went back to work, and for the last nine years I've worked as a behavioral health advocate.”

The ball is rolling on the building's transformation. Wakeland has already purchased the property where an office building currently sits, but the project still has to go through plan approval.

Wakeland hopes to have it open by late 2021 or early 2022.

If you're wondering what the company's success rate is with its tenants, it classifies success by retention and says it has a 90-percent retention rate.

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