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City Heights complex expected to house seniors, low-income families by late summer

Rental rates and home prices continue to climb in San Diego County, forcing out many families, and seniors, from standard housing. KPBS Speak City Heights reporter Jacob Aere says a new complex in the heart of City Heights looks to make a dent in the housing affordability issue when it opens later this year.

A new housing project designated 100% affordable and catering to seniors and low-income families in City Heights is in the final stages of construction.

The project has 78 family units and 117 units for seniors.

RELATED: City Heights residents, immigrants among most severely rent-burdened in San Diego

Fred Davis is a volunteer with Serving Seniors, the nonprofit organization that will help operate the building.

“No matter where the location is here in San Diego, we still need housing for seniors,” he said. “We have a new generation of homeless seniors. Everything is going up, and most of the seniors live below the federal poverty level.”

The new development is located at the busy crossroads of Fairmount Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard.

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Carlos Castillo
An affordable housing development designed for seniors and low-income families is under construction in City Heights

Serving Seniors CEO Paul Downey told KPBS that residents would have access to on-site activities and case management services, and they can receive no-cost meals just a few blocks away, at another Serving Seniors affordable housing complex.

RELATED: Report says San Diego has the most unaffordable housing market

But the building is not just for seniors: It will also be a space for low-income families through a collaboration with Price Philanthropies.

“Sometimes with affordable housing, we tend to kind of warehouse. We put a bunch of seniors here, we put a bunch of veterans there, or families only over here,” Downey said. “Really having that cross-generational interaction is healthy and normal, and it benefits everyone who’s living there.”

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Carlos Castillo
The project has 78 family units and 117 units for seniors.

The building is tentatively scheduled to open in late summer.

Erik Tilkemeier, the director of housing for the City Heights Community Development Corporation, said the new development would help, but another issue that affects low-income residents in San Diego is a lack of middle-income housing.

“If you can only afford to pay $1,500 a month rent, you can't go rent a $2,000-a-month place, but you can go rent a $1,000-a-month place. And that takes it away from somebody who can only afford the $1,000 a month rent,” Tilkemeier said.

RELATED: San Diego is worst place in the country for Black renters, new report shows

Prospective residents who are 62 and older can now register their interest in the housing complex at servingseniors.org.

Downey said to register soon as demand is very high.

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