Affordable Workforce Housing Breaks Ground in Sunnyvale with 29 Apartments Set Aside for the Homeless

Sunnyvale Mayor Jim Griffith, Santa Clara Supervisor Dave Cortese and other leaders gather to celebrate the groundbreaking for Onizuka Crossing, 58 affordable apartments for families with 29 units reserved for the formerly homeless.

Groundbreaking at Onizuka Crossing, a Development of MidPen Housing

On February 3rd, Sunnyvale Mayor Jim Griffith and Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese joined other city and county leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of Onizuka Crossing, an affordable, workforce rental apartment community in Sunnyvale being developed by MidPen Housing.

Onizuka Crossing is a response to the tremendous need for affordable workforce housing in one of the nation’s top three most expensive metropolitan area markets where skyrocketing rents have contributed to a homeless epidemic affecting a growing number of families. While Silicon Valley is home to some high income earners, many integral positions across multiple sectors including the service industry, retail, health care, education, and public safety don’t pay their workers enough to afford to live near to where they work or they’re forced to live in substandard housing.

Expected to welcome its first residents in spring 2016, Onizuka Crossing will provide 58 affordable workforce homes with 29 units reserved for formerly homeless individuals and their families. The community also includes outdoor courtyards and a community room where residents can gather, a computer lab, and an exercise room.

“Affordable housing is critical to the vitality of our city and one of the most significant regional issues facing Silicon Valley,” said Jim Griffith, Mayor of Sunnyvale. “Sunnyvale has long been a leader in this area, and Onizuka Crossing – particularly with its investment in apartments for the formerly homeless – is another important milestone in the City’s efforts to provide high quality housing that our workforce can afford.”

Named in honor of Ellison Onizuka, a NASA astronaut and Lieutenant Colonel with the United States Air Force, the land on which Onizuka Crossing is being developed was set aside when the Onizuka Airforce Station closed, as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Program. This land set-aside was the result of an amendment to the McKinney-Vento Act (which provides a wide range programs and assistance to help the homeless) that allows service providers to apply to local Redevelopment Agencies to use property at closed bases to assist homeless persons.

“We are proud to partner with the City of Sunnyvale on Onizuka Crossing,” said Matthew O. Franklin, President of MidPen Housing. “We applaud their vision and commitment to house an economically diverse workforce as well as their use of innovative resources during a particularly tough housing market.”

Onizuka Crossing will provide 27 one-bedroom, 11 two-bedroom, and 20 three-bedroom apartments serving individuals and families earning up to 50% of Area Media Income which is $50,950 for a four-person household.

In partnership with a network of service providers, MidPen Resident Services Corp. will coordinate and manage many onsite programs for all Onizuka Crossing residents including an educational-based After School Program for youth, financial literacy courses, vocational development, computer lab assistance; health and wellness programs and access to other community resources. In collaboration with the Santa Clara County Department of Behavioral Health Services and the Veterans Administration Palo Alto Health Care System, residents in the 29 formerly homeless apartments will receive additional supportive services which include case management to address individual needs and social integration services to promote a sense of community and connection. MidPen Property Management Corp. will provide onsite professional property management.

Financing for the $32.3M development was provided by the City of Sunnyvale; County of Santa Clara; Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara; Santa Clara County Department of Behavioral Health; Veteran’s Administration Palo Alto Health Care System; California Housing Finance Agency; California Department of Housing and Community Development; California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, and Union Bank.