Confirmed Housing complements $40.6 million micro-apartments

Affirmed Housing has completed a $40.6 million condo building in the Cortez neighborhood on the edge of Little Italy that targets renters who may not qualify for subsidized housing but can’t afford market-rate rents.

Jimmy Silverwood
Confirmed housing

“It’s a little different for us, a little more geared towards middle-income housing,” said Jamie Silverwood, president of Affirmed Housing.

Affirmed Housing, based in Saber Springs, builds affordable housing projects for very low- to low-income renters, often people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“In terms of moderate-income housing, let alone small affordable units, not a lot of it has been built,” Silverwood said.

The Helm, located at 191 Beech St., is seven stories and about 50,000 square feet, with 77 studio apartments, 41 of which are reserved for people with annual incomes at 80% of the area median income — $77,200 per person.

Of the rest, 32 are for those earning 30% of the area median income — $38.50 for a one-person household. These apartments come with federal rental vouchers through the San Diego Housing Commission. Vouchers are linked to apartments. When someone leaves, the voucher remains with the apartment for use by the next tenant.

Four apartments are allocated to those whose annual income is 60% of the area median income, or $57,900 per person.

Monthly rents in Helm range from $683 to $1,822, depending on income.

By comparison, Silverwood said monthly rents for market-rate apartments in nearby Little Italy are typically $3,000 or more.

Encouraging cycling

Carrier Johnson + Culture designed the apartments at Helm small – ranging in size from 283 square feet to 489 square feet.

To compensate for the small unit size, Silverwood said Carrier Johnson and Affirmed paid special attention to include areas that would encourage people to congregate.

“We’ve worked very closely with them, enhancing the community spaces and making it so that people don’t need to be in their unit per se,” Silverwood said.

It includes a multi-purpose room, lounge, clubhouse, yard and laundry room.

The Helm area has virtually no parking with only seven parking spaces “to encourage people to get out of their cars and walk to a lot of nearby amenities,” Silverwood said. “There are a lot of transportation options.”

Trolley and bus stops are located within a third of a mile from The Helm.

The project includes bicycle storage, and a designated bicycle lane passes in front of the building along Beach Street. There is also a bicycle repair shop on the first floor opening onto Beech Street where cyclists can work on their bikes.

“The concept was that people using the bike lanes in that area, the bike loop really, would have an area where they could fix their bikes,” Silverwood said.

The Helm is rated by GreenPoint, a standard for energy-efficient and sustainable multifamily housing.

The funding included a $4.2 million loan from the Housing Commission and a 4% low-income tax credit administered through the California State Treasurer.

Additional funding came from the California Housing Finance Agency, Bank of America, and the California Community Reinvestment Corporation.

The Helm is among several downtown housing projects developed by Affirmed Housing, including Studio 15 with 275 apartments in the East Village, Ten Fifty B, with 229 apartments on the edge of the East Village, and The Link, with 88 apartments in East Village, and Connections, with 223 apartments at 1250 Sixth Avenue.

“We know downtown well. We will continue to explore innovative ways to develop affordable housing in downtown San Diego,” Silverwood said. “It is needed throughout the city, but there has to be affordable housing downtown.”

Confirmed housing

CEO: Jim Silverwood
President: Jimmy Silverwood
Headquarters: Saber Springs
Employees: 30
Contact: 858-679-2828
Note: Since 1992, Affirmed Housing has financed more than $2.8 billion in affordable housing projects and has more than 5,800 apartments developed or in development in 70 communities.

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