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Affordable senior housing project breaks ground in San Ysidro

With the Tijuana skyline as a backdrop, mariachi music filled the air Monday morning in San Ysidro’s historic village district.

The band played uplifting songs to mark the start of construction on a new affordable senior complex called Ventana al Sur.

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Jacob Aere
/
KPBS
A mariachi band plays at the groundbreaking ceremony for an affordable senior housing complex in San Ysidro, Oct. 3, 2022.
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Hortencia Ramirez is a senior who is grateful to live in an affordable housing apartment not far away, in Chula Vista.

“I live happily, not only because of that fact, but also because of the security, protection, and service that we’re given. And everything we need is accessible for our handicap needs such as the bathrooms and showers,” she told KPBS in Spanish.

She explained the best part of her situation.

“All the protection and union that we residents have,” Ramirez said.

Like her complex, Ventana al Sur is specifically for seniors 62 and over with very low income.

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Jacob Aere
/
KPBS
MAAC President and CEO Arnulfo Manriquez speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony, Oct. 3, 2022.

The developer’s President and CEO Arnulfo Manriquez said the project has 25 units reserved for seniors experiencing chronic homelessness.

“We’re across the street from the trolley station, so seniors will be able to go on the trolley, public transportation. It's right near grocery stores, it's right near to parks, and it's right near to a library as well as a health clinic nearby. The services are going to be incredible,” he said.

Manriquez told KPBS there has been a historical lack of investment in San Ysidro, but this project will help to change the future of the city.

Ramirez is looking forward to the improvements and housing that people can actually afford.

“So many people need these places and according to the plans they’re going to be beautiful and accessible,” she said in Spanish.

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Jacob Aere
/
KPBS
MAAC President and CEO Arnulfo Manriquez speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony, Oct. 3, 2022.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said the development is a tangible step to address the region's housing shortage.

“100 affordable housing units for seniors. This project, projects like these, are how we tackle our region's housing affordability and homelessness crisis,” he said.

Construction on the building should be completed by summer of 2024. There will be a lottery system for interested applicants which will open during the first months of that same year.

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