National Model for Health and Housing to Revitalize Salinas’ Historic Chinatown Neighborhood

Groundbreaking at Moon Gate Plaza, a Development of MidPen Housing

Moon Gate Plaza, 90 affordable apartments for individuals with supportive services in Salinas - completing construction in fall 2019.

Moon Gate Plaza, 90 affordable apartments for individuals with supportive services in Salinas – completing construction in fall 2019.

On Friday June 29th, Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo and Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter joined other city and county leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of Moon Gate Plaza (formerly called 21 Soledad Street) – an innovative, mixed-use, affordable rental apartment community being developed by MidPen Housing.

The result of a partnership between the City of Salinas and MidPen Housing, Moon Gate Plaza represents a significant step towards realizing a longtime vision to revitalize Salinas’ historic Chinatown, a neighborhood rich in cultural heritage, while addressing the area’s growing homeless population.

“After years of envisioning, planning and working closely with the County, MidPen Housing, and many other local non-profit and business leaders, I am thrilled to finally see our vision become a reality,” said Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter. “Moon Gate Plaza provides much needed affordable housing and will catalyze economic development in this important part of our city.”

Expected to open in fall of 2019, Moon Gate Plaza is a mixed-use community which will provide 90 brand new apartment homes for low- and extremely low- income households, including the formerly homeless. Free onsite supportive services, combined with affordable housing, will provide the foundation for Moon Gate Plaza residents to improve their lives. They will all also enjoy many community amenities including a courtyard with community gardens, a community room with a kitchen, and a library / multi-purpose services room.

Through an innovative collaboration between MidPen Housing and the Central California Alliance for Health (the Alliance), Moon Gate Plaza will connect housing and health services for high utilizers of the healthcare system: the small percentage of Medi-Cal members who use over half of local healthcare resources. The Alliance, the County’s Medi-Cal managed care provider, awarded a $2.5 million one-time capital grant to make 20 units available for this population.

“We’re pleased to partner with MidPen Housing to provide supportive housing for the most medically fragile Medi-Cal members in Monterey County,” said Stephanie Sonnenshine, CEO of the Alliance. “Communities like Moon Gate Plaza deliver multi-level solutions to promote positive health outcomes for our members by providing housing and the necessary social supports that allow individuals to live stable and productive lives. The Alliance is proud to make this critical investment through our Medi-Cal Capacity Grant Program.”

This partnership and innovative use of funding has already been recognized as a national model for health and housing. (Refer to pg. 17 in Innovative Models in Health and Housing) “This is a very exciting day for us,” said Mathew O. Franklin, President and CEO of MidPen Housing. “We’re forging a community model that brings together the healthcare and affordable housing sectors in new ways, to create a solution that benefits those whose health will improve with access to affordable housing while decreasing public health care costs.”

While the Alliance provided funding for building construction, the Monterey County Health Department’s Whole Person Care program has committed to provide operating funds to MidPen Services to provide robust onsite supportive services for these special needs individuals. These supports are designed to help them successfully maintain their housing and integrate into the broader community and include 3 full-time, onsite case managers. Supportive housing unit residents will be referred from multiple agencies.

Through a coalition of local nonprofit organizations, the ground floor of Moon Gate is envisioned to be a vibrant community-serving commercial space that incorporates arts, health and wellness, culture, and educational programming to benefit all Chinatown neighborhood residents.

Financing for the $39.9M development was provided by the City of Salinas, the Housing Authority of the County of Monterey, the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, the Central California Alliance for Health, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and Bank of America Merill Lynch. Dahlin Group Architectural Planning is the architect and the contractor is Ausonio, Inc. MidPen Property Management Corp. will provide onsite professional property management.