Three years after Santa Clara County voters approved Measure A, a $950 million affordable housing bond, the first project funded by the initiative is finally finished.
The Veranda, which will open with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11am Monday at 19160 Stevens Creek Blvd. in Cupertino, will accommodate seniors and once-chronically homeless people with 19 permanent supportive housing units. Six of those units are reserved specifically for formerly homeless people, a dozen for seniors over the age of 60, and one for an onsite employee. Residents will be chosen by lottery.
Some of the development’s new tenants will speak at the grand opening event, as will a handful of local officials—namely county Board of Supervisors President Joe Simitian, Vice President Cindy Chavez, Cupertino Mayor Steven Scharff, Bishop Oscar Cantú of the Diocese of San Jose, county Chief Operating Officer Miguel Márquez, Charities Housing Board President Gregory Kepferle and Wells Fargo Vice President Lori Saito.
Ky Le, who helms the county’s Department of Supportive Housing, called the project’s opening as a watershed moment.
“I think it’s an important milestone for everyone who worked to get Measure A passed,” Le said in an interview with San Jose Inside. “It’s an important milestone for people who worked to implement Measure A. It’s a small project, but it demonstrates what can be done. For the people who are moving in, especially for the six seniors with disabling conditions, it’s really a life-saver and sort of a life-changer. And we’re really hoping that we’re showing that even in the city of Cupertino, developments can happen.”
Le said he views The Veranda as a sign of progress, however small, in addressing the shortfall of below-market-rate units in Silicon Valley.
“Although relatively small in size, it’s an indicator that we can do more in the city of Cupertino and we can do more in the county,” he said, adding that combatting the housing crisis necessarily entails building “more developments, faster.”
That means committing all Measure A funds as quickly as possible to get more projects in the pipeline and shovels in the ground, Le continued.
The public housing official said the next Measure A-funded apartment to open will be Villas on the Park, a $7.2 million, 84-unit complex coming to Downtown San Jose at 280 N. Second St. by St. James Park.
Developments currently in the pipeline include Morgan Hill’s Crossings on Monterey (39 units, $5.8 million in Measure A funds) and Gilroy’s Gateway Senior Apartment (75 units, $7.5 million in Measure A funds).
Another development slated San Jose at Senter and Tully roads is called Renascent, and though it isn’t funded by Measure A, it promises to bring 162 permanent supportive housing units paid for in part by $16 million in county funds, according to Le.
Kathy Robinson, director of development for Charities Housing—a San Jose-based nonprofit handling property management for The Veranda—said that while it’s been a few years since voters approved funding for Cupertino’s new affordable housing complex, the relatively small development was completed pretty quickly in the scheme of things.
“Truthfully it normally takes about five years to build an affordable housing development, so actually the veranda was built very quickly,” she said in a phone interview on Friday. “It only took about three years from the time we opened purchased the land and when we opened the doors.”
The complex cost nearly $12 million, Robinson said. Some $1 million came from Measure A, another $3.7 million from the City of Cupertino, $1 million from the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley, $500,000 in other county funds, $5.5 million from Wells Fargo, and about $120,000 from Charities Housing.
And while The Veranda will house just 18 disabled and otherwise vulnerable residents, she said it “runs the gamut of making sure that the folks who have been homeless are well supported and have the best chance possible of being successful living in an apartment.”