by John Glidden | Nov. 19, 2020
VALLEJO – Attempting to make headway in addressing the number of homeless persons in town, the Vallejo City Council approved an amended disposition and development agreement with an East Bay housing developer on Tuesday.
Hayward-based Eden Housing is proposing to build 75-units for Vallejo’s homeless, veterans and low-income residents at 2118 and 2134-2136 Sacramento Street. Eden was selected in June 2018 as the master developer for the project.
An action which caused one local resident to express concern about the location of the new housing project.
“I am alarmed by this project,” Anne Carr told the council.
Carr said it was unwise to place such a development near an area known for open-air drug deals. She worried about the health of the project and neighborhood, asking the council to “stop this train.”
She also said a police station needs to be built on the site instead of the housing.
Councilmembers Katy Miessner and Robert McConnell also had concerns about the location of the project.
“We really to make sure this doesn’t bring the neighborhood down,” Miessner said.
McConnell said he’d like to see an economic impact report be prepared the next time a similar project comes before the council.
Mayor Bob Sampayan said he was surprised by the reaction to the project.
“We first talking about this, when we voted on it, back in June 2018. During that time, I don’t recall, us, saying that we needed a different spot, I don’t recall any speakers saying that it needed to be moved to a different spot,” he said.
“I’m a little distressed that now we’re getting beat up over it; when we as a council voted to do it,” he added later in the meeting.
Councilwoman Pippin Dew concurred.
“We get yelled at for not doing enough to support our homeless and then, when we are coming so close to actually doing something that will provide new housing for our homeless, we are now being attacked for how we’re doing it,” Dew said.
Councilors and Carr also questioned why Eden is projecting a $672,570 development cost for each unit.
In response, Ellen Morris with Eden Housing, admitted that the $50 million development is a “really expensive project.” Morris said the per unit cost also includes amenities being offered to residents.
Morris said that besides the actual living space, there will be a community and service space, including a computer lab, on the ground floor.
“This population tends to be home all day,” she said. “We want a place for them to stay, to be able to feel welcome…”
The amended disposition and development agreement clarifies the terms on the withdrawal of funds for the project. It also updates the schedule of when the project will be built and eventually opened.
Eden anticipates construction will start in September 2021 with residents moving in by January 2023.
The development has earned praise from the city leaders for using modular housing builder Factory_OS for the site construction.
“We are really excited about being able to move forward with Factory_OS,” Max Heninger, project developer at Eden Housing, told the council.
City leaders have also touted the various services that will be offered to residents as they transition from homelessness. The project is located to medical services and public transportation, they added.
Units include studios, one and two bedroom apartments.
Councilwoman Rozzana Verder-Aliga said she hopes Vallejo’s model of permanent supportive housing will be replicated in other cities.
“I think this type of permanent supportive housing is, I think, maybe the first of its kind in Vallejo,” Verder-Aliga said. “I’m very excited that we’re going to be able to do this.”