SANTA ANA, Calif. — A nonprofit is transforming its old building into a permanent supportive housing development.
WISEPlace, a nonprofit that offers housing and support services for homeless women, and Jamboree Housing Corp. are teaming up to renovate and expand WISEplace's current 26,000-square-foot headquarters at 1411 N. Broadway to a $30 million, 47,000-square-foot residential community.
Once completed in fall 2024, the renovation and the new expansion will provide vital support services and permanent housing for 47 at-risk and or homeless residents, WISEPlace officials said. Groundbreaking is slated for April 2023.
"At WISEPlace, we envision an Orange County where every person in need is safely housed, empowered, and on a path to personal stability," stated Brateil Aghasi, chief executive officer of WISEPlace, in a news release. "The expansion and renovation of the historic landmark represent so much more than a new building; it represents the hope, growth and transformation of countless lives throughout Orange County."
The housing project comes as the county grapples with a growing homeless population.
According to the 2022 Point-in-Time Count, a total of 5,718 county residents experienced homelessness; of those, 3,057 persons were unsheltered — nearly 26% of whom were women and 25% were seniors 55 years old or older.
WISEPlace has been around since 1924, when it was known as the South Orange County YWCA. The charity provides safe transitional and emergency shelter, counseling, mental health services, case management and addiction recovery, and employment assistance.
The nonprofit has helped more than 8,400 women in its history.
The nonprofit and Jamboree plans to renovate WISEPlace’s current building and expand with 48 furnished affordable housing units, each with a bathroom, shower and kitchenette.
The development also includes building community spaces that will serve as financial empowerment learning labs, private counseling and case management spaces, wellness and fitness rooms, and an outdoor courtyard complete with community gardens and room for domestic pets, officials said.
The 47 studio apartments will range from about 400 to 500 square feet. There will also be a two-bedroom manager’s unit.
The units will be for those who earn 30% area median income rent, which comes to about $300 per month for rent and support services.
“Since this is 100% affordable supportive housing, it will house the 47 most vulnerable experiencing homelessness at the time of completion, focusing on seniors and those with dual-diagnosed disabilities,” said Aghasi.
The $30 million price tag pays for both housing and all support services for the lifetime of the partnership, not just the construction, Aghasi added.
The city of Santa Ana is contributing $3.9 million toward the development cost. The county of Orange is putting in $1.5 million in capital financing from Coronavirus State and Local Recovery Funds, the Orange County Housing Finance Trust $2.5 million in Local Housing Trust Fund and Mental Health Services Act funding, and the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee $20.1 million in tax credit equity.