Today, Mayor London N. Breed and representatives from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) joined local leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of The Kelsey Civic Center, a new 100% affordable housing development located at 240 Van Ness Ave., across the street from San Francisco City Hall.
The Kelsey Civic Center will provide affordable homes for extremely low-income, very low-income residents, and moderate-income residents. Anchored in inclusion, 28 units will be dedicated to persons with disabilities who use home and community-based services, with 14 units specifically dedicated to people eligible for the HUD Section 811 program, which supports individuals that are exiting institutions or at risk of institutionalization.
"We are excited to welcome The Kelsey and all of its residents to Civic Center,” said Mayor London Breed. “This new project is part of our commitment to creating new housing opportunities across our entire City. The Kelsey Civic Center’s focus on supporting people with disabilities in an inclusive environment will truly transform lives.”
“California is taking an all hands on deck approach to tackle homelessness and build more housing, faster. The state invested $57 million to support this development which will bring much-needed housing online in San Francisco,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “We’re thankful to The Kelsey, Mercy Housing California, and all our partners, for helping create more housing that is affordable, inclusive of people with disabilities, and climate-friendly through this project.”
Less than 12% of persons with disabilities own or lease their own home and many often live alone without much-needed support and opportunities for interaction. Co-developed by The Kelsey, a nonprofit dedicated to disability-forward housing solutions, and Mercy Housing California, a nonprofit housing development organization, The Kelsey Civic Center will be universally designed, ensuring that the building will be accessible and easier to use for people with different disabilities. Two full-time Inclusion Concierges will help residents navigate their neighborhood, engage with their city, connect to programs and activities, and build community among residents of all abilities.
To better support the community, a Disability Community Cultural Center (DCCC) is proposed for the ground-use commercial space located at 165 Grove Street. In collaboration with the Department of Disability and Aging Services (DAS) and The Kelsey, the DCCC will be a first-of-its-kind center hosting virtual and in-person community service programming, and educational, artistic, and social networking opportunities focused on serving individuals with disabilities and their allies who live or work in the San Francisco.
"What we're building here in San Francisco at The Kelsey Civic Center demonstrates that when we anchor communities around radical inclusion and full accessibility, we make them places where all people can thrive,” said Micaela Connery, Co-Founder and CEO at The Kelsey. “These homes for people with and without disabilities came to life through powerful collaboration with local, state, and national partners. I'm proud of the work we've done together here and the ways it can be replicated everywhere."
“With creative thinking and a commitment to designing affordable housing that works for everyone, there’s no reason this kind of success can’t be replicated all over the country,” said Doug Shoemaker, President of Mercy Housing California.
The Kelsey Civic Center was made possible by financing from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) and the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The project received an Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) award and California Housing Accelerator funds, made available through the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund (CSFRF) established by the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).
“Through the California Housing Accelerator, HCD was able to move The Kelsey Civic Center development toward becoming a reality for low- to moderate-income San Francisco residents struggling with housing affordability,” said HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez. “This project is particularly important in that it sets aside a full quarter of its homes for people with disabilities who may require supportive services, as well as providing help connecting residents to programs and activities that can further improve quality of life.”
The project sponsors were awarded the site for The Kelsey Civic Center through Reinventing Cities, a global competition organized by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group to drive carbon-neutral and resilient urban regeneration. Designed by Bay Area-based architecture firms Santos Prescott and Associates, WRNS Studio, Mikiten Architecture, and RHAA Landscape and Planning, The Kelsey Civic Center will model that an all-electric, low-carbon building can be affordable to people of all incomes.
The Kelsey Civic Center is slated to open in 2025.