David Wakely

After a long, challenging journey, Hacienda Heights has reopened with completely rehabilitated homes for seniors in Richmond, California.

Built in 1966, the development was formerly owned and operated by the Richmond Housing Authority. In 2014, the building was declared uninhabitable when it was determined that immediate rehabilitation was needed to address mold, seismic issues, and other repairs. Residents were moved out, and squatters moved in, stripping the building of copper wiring and fixtures.

Through the years, developers Mercy Housing California and Community Housing Development Corp. looked for ways to revitalize Hacienda Heights, but different obstacles slowed progress.

Finally, several breakthroughs pushed the $78 million project forward. Developers were able to leverage $7 million in funding from the Bettye Poetz Ferguson Foundation, which wanted to support the construction of senior housing.

David Wakely

The developers also took a new look at the overall site. The building sat in the middle of several parking lots on a large plot of land, so the team decided to subdivide the property to improve the development’s competitiveness for funding by increasing density and dedicating a 1.5-acre lot to the housing authority to building additional housing in the future.

“Mercy and CHDC were able to rescue this incredible community resource together,” says Doug Shoemaker, president of Mercy Housing California. “Having 150 extremely affordable apartments within walking distance to the Richmond Transit Village is something you could never recreate.”

The rehabilitated 150-unit Hacienda Heights has a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom homes for seniors earning no more than 20%, 30%, and 50% of the area median income. Twenty-five homes are reserved for seniors who have experienced homelessness, and 15 serve medically frail seniors.

In addition to having newly renovated apartments, residents have access to on-site services focused on health and wellness, housing stabilization, and community engagement.