Diamond - Anaheim, CA (GHI)
This project is a new construction in the City of Anaheim. It involves 25 units of affordable housing, 24 of which are rented to the target population of chronically homeless and severely mentally ill, with a household income not exceeding 30% of Area Median Income (AMI). It is a 3-story garden apartment in a mixed use residential district, very close to services, transportation and amenities. Supportive Housing services are made available on site by a full service partner (FSP), contracted by the Behavioral Health Services Department. The site consists of three vacant parcels sold by Orange County Transportation Authority to the City. The sponsors are two non-profit corporations, one a developer with 16 years of experience in affordable housing, and the other, a supportive services provider and operator, with 21 years of experience with the homeless and mentally ill. The project has permanent financing with a loan from the Governor's Homeless Initiative (GHI) and a Capitalized Rent Subsidy (CRS), both from HCD, plus bond financing from CalHFA, Affordable Housing Program (AHP) soft loan (through US Bank), and 4% tax credits allocation.
The personal impact on the Diamond resident community is profound. Not only are they now in a secure, stable living environment but they are receiving the hands-on clinical services they need, tailored specifically to help each individual toward success.
Resident Tom Simcox* calls the fact that he now lives at Diamond "a miracle." As he describes it:
- "I lost my job, my home and car, and had to file for bankruptcy. I became homeless and lived in my truck for 8 years. I had no insurance and not a dime to my name. I didnÆt know there were programs like this. Telecare took me under their wing, got me a psychiatrist and I was given medication. They turned me onto their housing program and said I wouldnÆt have to live in my truck anymore. Since IÆve come here, itÆs like IÆm in a new world. Being here in this luxurious place with such great staff is overwhelming. I donÆt have enough words for it. I appreciate you saving my life and I wish there were more people in the world like you all."
Because these homes are designed for families, many residents, like Madeline Leon*, are able to live with their children. In her words:
- "I was in a domestic violence shelter and pregnant with my second son. I thought I was headed for success but didnÆt know that I suffered from major depression. I felt like my life was about to collapse. It was difficult to keep a job and I couldnÆt keep housing. Moving forward was always beyond my grasp. I thought 'Why do I look like somebody else?' With the help of the Orange County National Alliance on Mental Illness, I realized I was functioning with a mental disorder but still found mental health services were not available to me. Until I found this place. Someone told me that when your environment changes, your perspective changes. Since IÆve been here, my goals have expanded, my energy has increased and my desire to move forward finally exists. What does this place mean to me? IÆm standing on top of a mountain."
Diamond has also created a strong sense of community between the residents, who formally functioned in isolation. Now they feel constant support and understanding, rather than judgment and rejection.
In the greater community, a sense of acceptance and understanding of this resident population has grown. Those formerly against the project can now be counted amongst the supporters and with the quality design and construction, the building is a source of neighborhood pride.