A former hotel in the South Bay was given a new life as Benson Place. The apartments will provide stable homes and an opportunity for a fresh start to San Diegans who previously experienced homelessness.
Nearly eight months after its groundbreaking, Benson Place formerly EZ-8 Motel in the Otay Mesa area, was transformed into 82 affordable apartments.
“This is a glimpse not only of the present and what is possible, but this is a glimpse of the future. This is how we spend dollars to make a difference in people’s lives and to get them off the streets now,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.
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Faulconer added that 57 of the 82 residents at Benson Place come from the temporary shelter at the San Diego Convention Center.
San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) awarded 82 federal rental housing vouchers, which will help residents pay their rent. SDHC said those vouchers are tied to the units so that when a resident moves on, the housing voucher remains with the unit to help another individual experiencing homelessness.
"The units at Benson Place will be affordable to individuals experiencing homelessness who have an annual income of up to 30 percent of the San Diego Area Median Income, currently $24,300 a year for an individual. The development also includes one manager’s unit," SDHC said.
Father Joe's Villages will provide some on-site services and will offer free transportation so residents can access additional services at its downtown campus.
Benson Place also includes 25 units designated for individuals with serious mental illness who are experiencing homelessness. Those individuals will be helped by the County of San Diego's Behavioral Health Services Division.
“Benson Place will pair comprehensive services, case management, mental health services, employment services and other support with housing," said the Deacon Jim Vargas, President & CEO Father Joe’s Villages. "This combination will ensure that our neighbors move into homes of their own and are able to retain their housing."
The rent will remain affordable for 55 years for individuals with extremely low income, said SDHC Vice Chair of the Board Ryan Clumpner.
SDHC in partnership development with Father Joe’s Villages and Chelsea Investment Corporation helped rehabilitate the former hotel. The total development cost was approximately $24.6 million, according to SDHC.
For more information on housing opportunities, visit the SDHC website.