SAN JOSE, CA - Affirmed Housing, a leading provider of affordable housing throughout California, announced the opening of Vela, a mixed-use, affordable and supportive housing development serving individuals and families located in the Mayfair neighborhood in East San Jose. A ceremony was held to commemorate the project’s grand opening and included special guests San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco, Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, City of San Jose Housing Department Director Jacky Morales-Ferrand and Santa Clara County Housing Authority Executive Director Preston Prince.
"The city proudly invested in Vela to provide dignified housing for dozens of our residents struggling with homelessness,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. "More than merely housing people, Vela provides a supportive community, with employment and training services to help residents get onto a path of self-sufficiency."
Vela is Santa Clara County’s first project to include Rapid Rehousing (RRH) homes as part of Measure A’s goal to help households quickly exit homelessness and foster long term stability. RRH encapsulates three main components: housing identification, rent and move-in assistance, and case management and services, including employment counseling and job training aimed at ensuring residents’ ability to retain their housing for the long term. Vela is also San Jose’s first project approved under SB 35, a 2017 law that streamlines approvals for affordable housing projects.
“Vela demonstrates what can be accomplished when multiple stakeholders come together to execute on a common goal,” said Rob Wilkins, Affirmed Housing’s Vice President of Northern California. “Affordable housing is a fundamental component in ensuring cities - and more importantly, their people – function at their best. In developing Vela, we’ve leveraged county and city funding programs, statewide legislation and a range of innovative strategies to create an exceptional environment that residents can be proud to call home. Vela’s success paves the way for other critically needed projects of this kind, and Affirmed Housing is tremendously appreciative of the support of our like-minded project partners in forging this new ground.”
The development features a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom affordable apartment homes for households earning up to 30 and 60 percent of the county’s Area Median Income (AMI). Of the 87 total homes, 43 are set aside for formerly unhoused populations with 14 designated for RRH and 29 for Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) programs, as well as two homes reserved for the building’s property and maintenance managers. In addition to housing, Vela residents have access to on-site supportive care and services to help them regain long-term stability, independence and well-being.
Vela’s overall design prioritizes community building with several shared resident amenities incorporated throughout, including a computer lab, community room, TV room, spacious courtyard and large outdoor deck with raised planter gardens and lounge areas. Vehicle and bicycle parking are also included. Each apartment comes equipped with energy efficient appliances.
In the weeks before Vela’s grand opening and in anticipation of receiving residents, Affirmed Housing, in partnership with on-site service provider People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) and the San Jose Earthquakes, collaborated to set up and furnish each apartment with basic move-in necessities.
Affirmed Housing’s development partners for Vela include the City of San Jose, Santa Clara County, DAHLIN Group Architecture Planning, Cahill Contractors, BKF Engineers, JETT Landscape, Bank of America, California Community Reinvestment Corporation (CCRC), PATH and Nexus for Affordable Housing.
“Vela adds to East San Jose’s affordable housing supply for our most vulnerable community members. It is a model public-private partnership that converted an abandoned storefront and lot into a service-rich community, helping its residents get on the path to personal and financial stability,” said Raquel González, president, Bank of America Silicon Valley. “Bank of America has worked with lead developer Affirmed Housing on several high quality affordable housing projects in recent years, and we’re particularly proud to have financed the Vela and invest into this historically diverse Alum Rock community.”