RESTORATION OF CENTURY-OLD HOTEL GIVES HOUSING LIFELINE TO ADULTS AT RISK OF HOMELESSNESS

The San Diego Housing Commission and its nonprofit affiliate, Housing Development Partners, celebrate the grand reopening of the Mason, providing supportive housing

SAN DIEGO – March 1, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Transformed from a 100-year-old downtown hotel into modern studios, The Mason is giving very low-income adults such as U.S. Air Force veteran Dallas Edge the help they need to stay off the streets in the heart of San Diego.

“My new home is awesome,” Edge said. “It represents for me the first time in 13 years that I’ve gotten my own key to my own door to my own place.”

The San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC); its nonprofit affiliate, Housing Development Partners (HDP); and their partners celebrated the grand reopening of The Mason today, more than eight years after it had been destroyed by fire. HDP rehabilitated The Mason, with SDHC contributing a $2.68 million loan toward the $3.6 million project.

“We are proud of what we’ve accomplished here,” said SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry, who also serves as the Board President of HDP. “The Mason is just one example of what the San Diego Housing Commission, Housing Development Partners and our other valued partners are doing to create affordable housing in downtown San Diego.

Located on Fifth Avenue in downtown San Diego, The Mason will remain affordable housing for 55 years. Residents are extremely low-income between the ages of 25 and 59.

“When we think about our mission for clean, safe and affordable housing, we think about our residents,” HDP Executive Director Marco Vakili said. “They’re what makes all the hard work worth it.”
City Council President Todd Gloria said The Mason shows how the city can achieve the goal of ending homelessness locally—one project at a time.

“In a city of such extreme beauty, wonder and wealth, we can do better than we’ve been doing,” Gloria said. “We’re starting to see that happen. Of course, our objective every single day is to live up to our motto of being ‘America’s Finest City.’ With The Mason restored and operating again, I can say we are a step closer to being ‘America’s Finest City.’”

Already fully leased, The Mason provides 16 supportive housing units for adults who were homeless or were at risk of homelessness and who need mental health services. The Mason also includes one manager’s unit, a community room and ground-floor commercial space.

Community Research Foundation provides mental health supportive services to residents.
“If you walk around any of our areas of San Diego County and you look at the homeless population, this is a significant component of our homeless issue,” County Supervisor Ron Roberts said, referring to those who need mental health care. “So to have facilities like this where you get people into permanent housing and we can start to treat them in a way that is needed is extremely important.”

Each residence at The Mason features a kitchenette with a small refrigerator, a microwave, a stove and oven. Each room also has a bathroom and is outfitted with a dresser, a bed, a television and a small table and chairs.

In addition to SDHC’s $2.68 million loan, other funding sources for The Mason project included Civic San Diego (formerly Centre City Development Corporation),the California Housing Finance Agency and the California Department of Mental Health, which provided money through the Mental Health Services Act Housing Program.

For more information, visit www.sdhc.org

Media Contact:
Maria Velasquez, Vice President
Community Relations & Communications
619-578-7560 mariav (at) sdhc (dot) org

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