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Affordable housing complex opens for seniors and families in City Heights

The Harris Family Senior Residence and Mid-City Family Apartments in City Heights are officially open.

Like almost all affordable housing offerings in the region, the development is already completely full, with a long waiting list.

Aurora Anaya lives in the new complex with her family of six, after previously cramming into a one-bedroom apartment in another part of town.

“We were in a situation where we had to rent out the bedroom to other individuals or other families as well because it was just too expensive for us to pay, to even afford somewhere to live,” Anaya said. “So now having to move into a three-bathroom, two-bedroom apartment is just amazing.”

The San Diego Housing Commission's Colin Miller acknowledges many San Diegans are still in situations like Anaya used to be, especially with rising rent prices.

“The housing we’re looking at today — affordable housing — we really need investments from the state and federal government to provide an influx of capital to the region so we can afford to build more projects like this one,” Miller told KPBS.

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Jacob Aere
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KPBS
San Diegans attend the grand opening of an affordable housing development for seniors and families in City Heights, Nov. 14, 2022.

Serving Seniors CEO Paul Downey said the issue of affordable housing is particularly challenging for older populations.

Silvia Martinez is a senior citizen who used to be unhoused before moving into the new City Heights development.

“There has to be something to speed up that to get the homeless (population) help. Because their health just deteriorates,” she said.

The San Diego city council unanimously declared housing as a human right on Monday, and discussed further tenant protections.

Martinez said affordable units need to be built faster as a growing number of seniors are living in cars or on the streets.

“To make units like this available in San Diego, we're going to need more funding and we're going to need more land,” the Housing Commission's Miller said.

SANDAG said the region needs over 170,000 housing units built within this decade. Last year, just over ten-thousand units were built.

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