High quality affordable housing is the foundation for transformative, catalytic and sustainable communities
By Yvonne Nguyen
Innovative Housing Opportunities (IHO), a 501c3 non-profit public benefit organization, is an award-winning developer committed to delivering catalytic community assets that are building a legacy that reinvigorates local communities and attracts reinvestment. The communities they develop are designed to reinvigorate the neighborhoods they inhabit and are mixed-income, mixed-population and mixed-used. IHO’s core belief is that high quality affordable housing is the foundation for transformative, catalytic and sustainable communities.
The company’s motto, “it starts with housing” is reflected in El Verano, a senior housing development in Anaheim, Calif. dedicated to low-income and formerly homeless seniors age 62 and older. By coordinating with public financing agencies, IHO can ensure that the rent is no more than 30% of the renters’ annual household income. Because these apartments are also financed with a rental subsidy, Section 8 housing vouchers, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) pays the difference so that the residents can live without fear of being evicted for inability to pay the rent.
The inspiration behind El Verano was simply to house the city’s elders with dignity. The goal in affordable housing, especially when developing permanent supportive housing, is to stabilize residents and keep them housed—which builds strong communities and ultimately saves on public services and public dollars. In order to achieve an economy of scale, floor plans are standardized as much as possible. El Verano offers one-bedroom apartments and nine two-bedroom units to accommodate live-in caregivers.
As an affordable development, El Verano had to meet the revised Title 24 requirements. Competitive public financing also awards projects that have the highest sustainability and energy efficiency measures. To that end, this project was designed with sustainability in mind: it meets GreenPoint Certified Gold requirements, is certified by Energy Star and all-electric; solar photovoltaic panels are used for water heating and common area lighting and units feature low-flow plumbing fixtures, upgraded air ventilation systems for improved air quality and upgraded door and window packages for improved insulation.
This development won the 2022 PCBC Gold Nugget Award of Merit for Best Affordable Senior Housing Community and the 2021 Affordable Housing Awards for Senior Development of the Year.
Yvonne Nguyen is Editor of Green Home Builder Magazine. She can be reached at [email protected].