Santa Ana Motel is Turned into Housing for Homeless People
A once blighted motel on First Street in Santa Ana has been transformed into housing for people who previously lived on the street. The place is now called The Orchard and it is a 72-unit complex near the city’s eastern edge. The Orchard debuted at a ribbon cutting on Thursday, Feb. 1, as the first permanent supportive-housing project in Santa Ana. Judson Brown, housing division manager for Santa Ana, stated,
They would have been sleeping on the streets last night without this project.
Most of the residents of The Orchard came from the city’s Civic Center area, where several homeless people live and sleep outdoors and have to deal with criminal activity and poor sanitation. The residents of The Orchard live in studio and one-bedroom apartments furnished with a bed and a dresser, they have a small kitchen equipped with a refrigerator and stove, and they have private bathrooms. They are provided free meals times a day by the nonprofit No One Left Behind. Subsidized rent is no more than 30 percent of a tenant’s income, and utilities are free. Many of the residents are recovering from substance abuse or deal with mental health issues and physical disabilities. Because of this, there are three case managers on-site five days a week to connect the residents to various services and assist in keeping them stable.
The project cost $18 million and was financed with a combination of private loans, federal money and tax credits. Community Development Partners, a Newport Beach based company run by brothers Kyle and Eric Paine, purchased the property in 2015 and worked with the city and homeless services provider Mercy House Living Centers to complete the project. The Santa Ana Housing Authority put aside 71 federal Section 8 housing vouchers for the project, at a cost of $1 million yearly for 15 years and the city gave $1.2 million in federal grant money to cover the developer’s final financing gap. The people that worked on the project hope that The Orchard will be a model for other communities. Hopefully, The Orchard can provide its residents with a place for change and other cities are able to do the same in their cities.