Construction has begun on transforming San Diego's old World Trade Center building into a unique housing and services complex for the homeless.
Envisioned as a one-stop center for those on the streets, Connections Housing will feature 73 units of permanent supportive housing, 150 interim beds, a multi-service center, and a health clinic.
The development is a project of People Assisting The Homeless (PATH), Affirmed Housing Group, Family Health Centers of San Diego, and PATH Ventures, PATH's development arm.
PATH is best known for its multi-service center in Los Angeles. Officials plan to bring that same comprehensive approach to San Diego.
Developers held a construction kickoff ceremony in January, with the 12-story project expected to be completed in December.
UnitedHealth Group announced that it was providing $15 million to help fund the project through its partnership with Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. The financing is part of UnitedHealth Group’s $50 million investment in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) and historic rehabilitation tax credits.
Capital funding for Connections Housing comes from several sources. In 2011, the San Diego City Council and Centre City Development Corp., working on behalf of the Redevelopment Agency, committed $16 million in local funds to support the project. The San Diego Housing Commission also invested $2 million. Additional predevelopment funds came from the Corporation for Supportive Housing. In addition, the city committed $950,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding.
The federal LIHTCS cover the remainder of the $33.9 million development costs.
Once Connections Housing is open, the combined operating budget for the PATH Depot, the Family Health Centers of San Diego on-site clinic, the 150 interim housing beds, and the 73 permanent supportive-housing units is approximately $3.7 million annually.
The San Diego Housing Commission allocated 89 federal housing vouchers (nearly $1 million annually) to support the residential programs.