Stories to Inspire

From the Imprint–It took a local city council member’s fierce advocacy and a change in state law, but Emeryville, California officials are now on track to build the state’s first affordable housing development with rooms for both seniors and young people transitioning from foster care.

As planned, the $44 million project will boast a five-story building with 53 units for seniors and 14 for transition-age youth. In this traffic-clogged region, 60 parking spaces will be folded inside a mechanized, vehicle-stacking system. And inside common areas, young people with few adults in their life to anchor them will have neighbors nearby, who have plenty of time for them. Older folks, too, will benefit, living among lonely youth who may be just as in need of companionship.

“Affordable housing is all about advancing and strengthening our communities, and this is an exciting opportunity to develop intergenerational interaction, support, and connections,” Amie Fishman, executive director of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California wrote in an email. “Living together means learning together!”

The 4300 San Pablo Avenue project — located in a city of 12,000 people nestled on the San Francisco Bay waterfront between Oakland and Berkeley — was originally proposed as an affordable housing development solely for the elderly. Under previous state law, housing projects designed for seniors and youth have long been barred from accessing tax credits, a regular feature in financing plans for affordable developments.

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