San Francisco’s first Sec. 811 supportive-housing community for people with developmental disabilities recently opened its doors.
Two local nonprofits, West Bay Housing Corp. and Satellite Housing, joined forces to build the 15-unit Octavia Court.
Located in the city’s Hayes Valley neighborhood, the site was created when a freeway ramp was demolished following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
Bill Pickel, executive director of West Bay Housing, describes the development as standing at the literal and figurative intersection of the anti-highway movement and community integration.
The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association and others have worked to make the area into a more walkable neighborhood and supported Octavia Court.
“This is a nice neighborhood,” said Lashon Brown, who recently moved out of one of the city’s rougher sections and into Octavia Court.
For Brown and other residents, the development means a brand new home of their own and the opportunity to live independently. Some residents had been living on their own in single-room occupancy units while others are coming from their family homes.
All apartments are accessible and adaptable. Two apartments incorporate special accessibility features for mobility-impaired residents, and one unit is designed for hearing and/or vision-impaired residents.
Octavia Court strikes a balance between offering residents independence and providing support, Pickel said.
Residents receive individually tailored services. Octavia Court also offers an arts-based vocational day program for people with developmental disabilities, including art workshops and a public gallery operated by Norcal Vocational and funded by Golden Gate Regional Center. Toolworks, Inc., provides on-site service coordination.
The building features solar panels that power the common areas.
The development marks a couple of other notable firsts. Octavia Court is West Bay’s first multifamily housing project, and it is Berkeley-based Satellite’s first in San Francisco.
Financing for the $8.6 million development includes $2.6 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sec. 811 program that funds supportive housing for the disabled.
Octavia Court is also receiving project-based rent subsidies through the program, so residents pay only 30 percent of their income toward rent.
The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency provided the land as well as a $4.6 million soft loan through tax increment financing.
Other key funders include the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s Multifamily Housing Program (Supportive), the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco’s Affordable Housing Program, the California Pollution Control Financing Authority’s CALReUSE Program, the State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Enterprise Community Partners’ Green Communities, and Wells Fargo Foundation.