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Quality of Life

New senior housing project breaks ground in Vista

The city of Vista took a step in curbing homelessness on Monday by breaking ground on an affordable housing community for senior citizens.

The dirt lot that was once an automotive shop that burned down will, within a year, be a 54-unit permanent supportive housing for people 62 years or older who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness.

The Santa Fe Senior Village will be fully furnished and 100% affordable with onsite amenities such as a community center with private case management offices, a community garden and a patio.


"We're not building facilities for people from other places in the county," said Vista Mayor John Franklin. "We have the need right here in Vista.”

He said his grandmother lived in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) subsidized housing, and he saw firsthand what it meant to her not to worry about missing rent.

“So I am very proud to have played a very small role in supporting this project," Franklin said. "And we will continue to prioritize building direct subsidized housing for seniors so that they can have a dignified quality of life.”

National CORE, a nonprofit affordable housing developer, is developing the project with some of the funding coming from HUD, the city of Vista and the county of San Diego. It’s one of three National CORE projects underway in North County. The others are in Oceanside and Escondido.

The project is expected to be completed by summer 2024. It will have 51 studio apartments, two one-bedroom apartments and a manager’s unit. It's also within walking distance of a grocery store, public park, medical clinic, public library and restaurants.


That's important because it gives people autonomy to go where they need to go and it's part of aging well, said Nick Macchione, the county's Health & Human Services Agency director.

“We need projects like this and more of them," he said. "So we're very, very excited in the county of San Diego to be not only a partner but a contributor for the ongoing aging well of our residents here.”

Santa Fe Senior Village is located in Deputy Mayor Corinna Contreras’ district. She said the project is part of the city’s strategic plan to curb homelessness.

“Without the housing component, you have folks waiting on the sidelines for too long," she said. "That's where we get to see, unfortunately, folks go back into experiencing homelessness."

According to the state’s Homeless Data Integration System, seniors are one of the fastest-growing homeless populations. Since 2022, the county's population of people without homes grew by 10%, according to the county's Point-in-Time Count.

The same survey found adults ages 55 and older make up one-in-four individuals experiencing homelessness in the county, and 43% of those are experiencing homelessness for the first time.

Contreras said this project is just one step toward solving the homelessness problem.

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