Bernard André Photography

Leigh Avenue Senior Apartments recently welcomed its first residents, including a woman who was homeless for 20 years.

The 64-unit permanent supportive housing (PSH) development was built for people like her—seniors who have been chronically homeless and have special needs in San Jose, California. All the units come with project-based vouchers to assist residents in one of the nation’s most expensive housing markets.

Bernard André Photography

“No one has to make a choice between rent, medicine, and food,” says Geoffrey Morgan, president and CEO of First Community Housing. “Finally, people are able to rest and realize the wolf won’t be at their door.”

Residents have access to a range of supportive services. In addition, the development, which is designed to achieve LEED Platinum designation, is near a light-rail station, and all households receive a free transit pass.

Like its residents, Leigh Avenue Senior Apartments is a survivor. First Community Housing stayed with the project through the Great Recession and other obstacles that threatened the development over the past decade. It was initially planned as a traditional affordable senior housing property but adapted to be a PSH community to meet the needs of an aging homeless population.

Leigh Avenue is also a testament to political will, according to Morgan. Funding sources for the $50.3 million development includes Measure A, a voter-approved county housing bond, and low-income housing tax credits.