San Diego

Woman's Rejoice Over Landing Affordable Apartment Highlights County's Shortage

In San Diego, landing in an affordable housing unit can be akin to winning the lottery.

Hearing Fay Williams’ reaction when she found out she got an affordable apartment unit at the brand-new Mesa Verde Apartments in San Carlos really drives that point home.

“Woohoo! Look out, Jack! I’m in!” Williams exclaimed from her dining room table. “When they called me I was so excited.”

She and 88 other families were picked ahead of more than 1,000 residency applicants. The waitlist currently stands in excess of 2,500. With her new living situation, the 61-year-old said she’ll be able to afford groceries.

Two months ago she was applying to every affordable housing property she could find. She lives on disability due to chronic injuries from working. She pays just over $1,000 per month for her new 1-bedroom apartment.

“It’s affordable. I can eat,” Williams said.

The complex replaced a rundown strip mall on the south side of Mission Gorge Road just north of Margerum Avenue. The Chelsea Investment Corporation built the $33 million community with assistance from the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) coming in the form of a $9.6 million loan.

The loan consists of $7.1 million in City Inclusionary Housing Funds, $2 million in Federal HOME Investment Partnership Program funds and $500,000 from the city’s Housing Trust Fund.

The SDHC said the complex is affordable for households earning up to 60 percent of San Diego’s Area Median Income, which is currently $58,380 per year for a four-person household. It will remain affordable for 55 years.

"This is the type of housing we need more of in San Diego," Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Thursday. "This is about providing housing opportunities for San Diegans, for working families, to find that home, to find that apartment that they can afford. This is why we're going to great lengths to increase our housing, reduce costs and promote smart growth and revitalization."

Williams knows what the grind is like for families searching for affordable living situations, and has advice for those still searching.

"This is my home," she said. "Don't give up."

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