Grand Opening at Onizuka Crossing, a Development of MidPen Housing and an example of the kind of communities that Measure A will help create
On October 5th, Sunnyvale Mayor Glenn Hendricks, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese, and California Assemblymember Rich Gordon joined other community leaders and members to celebrate the Grand Opening of Onizuka Crossing, an affordable rental apartment community developed by MidPen Housing. The event also highlights the value of Measure A which, if passed in November, will help create additional communities like Onizuka Crossing for Santa Clara County’s children, veterans, working families, seniors and people with special needs.
Onizuka Crossing addresses the immense need for affordable workforce housing in one of the nation’s top three most expensive metropolitan areas 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.
“As the single mother of a young son, even with a stable full time job, when the landlord asked us to move so he could renovate, I couldn’t find another place we could afford,” said Erika Martin, a resident of Onizuka Crossing. “We were without housing for almost a year and when you don’t have a stable roof over your head, it’s really hard to focus on anything else. I’m so grateful for a beautiful home that’s affordable! Living here means having a safe place to care for my son and the opportunity to better our lives. We’re blessed!”
As evidence of the need, within the two week application period, Onizuka Crossing received nearly 1,500 applications for its 58 apartment homes.
“Affordable housing is critical to the vitality of our region and is clearly one of the most significant issues our County faces today,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese. “Onizuka Crossing is a perfect example of the kind of investment that Measure A funds will help provide, where valuable members of our community, including working families and Veterans, will have quality housing that they can afford.”
Named in honor of Ellison Onizuka, a NASA astronaut and Lieutenant Colonel with the United States Air Force, the site on which Onizuka Crossing now exists was made available when the Onizuka Airforce Station closed, as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Program. An amendment to the McKinney-Vento Act (which provides a wide range programs and assistance to help the homeless) allows service providers to use property at closed bases to assist homeless persons. The City determined that the site of the former base was actually better suited for other community amenities than for housing but was able to do a swap and set-aside the site of their former Armory building to be used for permanent affordable housing which then provided the land for Onizuka Crossing.
“With innovative developments like Onizuka Crossing, Sunnyvale continues to provide more real, long-term housing options for homeless and lower-income members of our community and demonstrate cutting-edge solutions to complex regional challenges like affordable housing,” stated Sunnyvale Mayor Glenn Hendricks.
“The City of Sunnyvale demonstrated great leadership and vision in their creative use of resources to house an economically diverse workforce,” said Matthew O. Franklin, President of MidPen Housing. “We’re proud to partner with them on Onizuka Crossing, our tenth affordable housing community in Sunnyvale.”
Onizuka Crossing provides 27 one-bedroom, 11 two-bedroom, and 20 three-bedroom apartments for individuals and families earning up to 50% of Area Media Income which is $55,800 for a four-person household. The development also includes a community room, computer room, a learning center for the After School Program, and a courtyard with a children’s play area.
In partnership with a network of service providers, MidPen Resident Services Corp. coordinates and manages 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 Abode Services, 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 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. provides 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; VA Palo Alto Healthcare System HUD-VASH Program; California Housing Finance Agency; California Department of Housing and Community Development; California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Union Bank.