What is Permanent Supportive Housing for seniors?
Permanent Supportive Housing is a housing model that combines low-barrier affordable housing, health care, and supportive services to help seniors (62 years and older) lead more stable lives. This model has been shown to not only impact housing status, but also result in cost savings to various public service systems. It is independent living in a regular apartment property with the same standard residential lease and house rules that one would find in any other apartment complex. There are also wrap around services offered including case management, service coordination, substance abuse services, links to vocational training, and health and wellness programming.
Can we see the house rules and lease agreement?
Yes. We are happy to provide a copy of Mercy Housing’s house rules and lease agreement upon request.
What is the management staffing for this property?
There will be a Property Manager and an Assistant Manager, a Janitor and Maintenance Technician, as well as a Front Desk Clerk during non-business hours. One of the management staff will also live on-site.
What is the responsibility of the property manager when it comes to problems that come up both inside the building and on the sidewalk outside?
The property manager is responsible for responding to neighborhood resident concerns regarding the building and the impact residents or guests are having on the neighborhood. There will be Mercy Housing staff living on-site
Are residents allowed to have pets?
Residents are allowed to have emotional support animals through reasonable accommodation requests. They must show a need to have the animal and have a health professional sign the request. If granted the accommodation, residents must provide the pertinent Pet Policy paperwork to management, including proof that the animal has received all its vaccinations. Residents are expected to be responsible pet owners. The Pet Policy is an addendum to the lease.
Are residents allowed to have visitors?
Yes. Residents are allowed to have visitors. Residents are responsible for their visitors who are expected to follow the same House Rules as residents. Also, the House Rules specify the number of days that residents may have visitors. Failure to comply with the House Rules can result in a lease violation for the resident.
How many residents can live in each unit?
The maximum occupancy for these studio apartments is 2 people. Each person will have to be qualified to live there, must go through the background check, and be on the lease. Most permanent supportive households tend to be one person.
What is the screening process for these apartments?
Mercy Housing contracts with a third party to conduct criminal background checks on all applicants for the properties in its portfolio. This is to determine that neither the resident nor any household member will have a record of misdemeanor convictions within the past 3 years or a record of felony convictions in the past 4 years. No applicant or household member who is subject to the national sex offender lifetime registration will be admitted under any circumstance. Additionally, the leasing process includes requests for information on credit history and landlord history, as well as other indicators that the applicant will be able to live successfully in the community.
What is your policy on additional people who are not on the lease and who want to co-inhabit the apartment?
Anyone wishing to co-inhabit the apartment must go through the same qualifying and screening process as the original resident, be a party to the lease, and abide by the house rules. Non-compliance will result in a lease violation for the resident.
What resident services staff will be on-site?
There will be one Resident Services coordinator to provide programming throughout the day in the areas of health and wellness, financial literacy, art and cooking, yoga and Tai Chi.
There will be 2-3 case managers, staffed at a 20-1 ratio, who will provide referrals for addiction treatment and mental health support, as well as assistance with medication compliance.
The services team will provide support and programming to all of the residents who live at the property.
CWill all residents be experiencing homelessness prior to moving in?
All residents will be technically experiencing homelessness at the time of move in. They will be living in a shelter, on the street, or in a transitional program, will be referred by a service agency through the Coordinated Entry System operated by the county, and will go through a screening process to verify their homeless status. Because of our funding commitments and the profound need, we do not foresee there being a time when we will accept residents who have not experienced homelessness.
Will this housing serve those who are experiencing homelessness in our neighborhood?
The Coordinated Entry System will refer individuals who are from Service Planning Area 2, the geographical area in which Sherman Oaks lies. So yes, this will help to address the local issue of homelessness.
Will you require sobriety for the residents, and will you be requiring anyone who suffers from mental illness to be on medication.
One of the hallmarks of Mercy Housing as an operator of permanent supportive housing is the strong working relationship between the management and the resident services staff (including case managers) on behalf of residents. Though sobriety is not a requirement to live at the property, all residents sign an addendum to their lease stating that they will not use illicit drugs. Programming will be offered to address substance abuse issues and the services staff will work closely with any resident suffering from the disease of addiction and those working hard to maintain their sobriety. Any public intoxication, however, will result in a lease violation.
Another part of the lease states the commitment of the residents to be good neighbors and not disrupt the peaceful enjoyment of the community. Additionally, the on-site resident services team will be providing robust programming throughout the day to engage the residents. Staff work with residents and their providers to assist them to be medication compliant and the onsite services team will be trained to work with individuals who live with mental health issues.
What is the plan for how long these residents are supposed to stay in these units?
Residents are allowed to stay as long as they comply with the lease and the house rules. It’s common for residents to stay for many years as their health stabilizes. At times, there have been some residents who are not ready or able to live in an independent living situation. In the case of those residents, the services team will work with other City and County service providers to find a more appropriate level of care and to avoid the person returning to homelessness.
Is there a requirement that the residents will get a job? Is it part of your mission to help residents transition back into the workforce?
There is no requirement that the resident have income or a job. Services staff will work with residents to help them become enrolled in any public benefits for which they are eligible in order to allow them to have some income for rent and other expenses. Case management and behavioral health staff will work with residents to assess their interest in working or volunteering in the community. They will work with them to develop a health and wellness plan that could include getting vocational training in order to allow them to return to work. Services staff often connect residents with employment programs in the neighborhood to obtain work. These programs also work with residents to mentor them, help them with issues that may come up in the workplace, and support them in maintaining their employment.
What is the cost of this development and what will the rents be?
The total project development cost is not yet final because we are in the early stages of the development planning. Construction costs will continue to fluctuate based on market conditions until construction is begins and a construction contract is signed. The current expectation is that the total development cost will be around $26.3 million including land purchase, design costs, financing costs, reserve funds, etc. Of this, approximately $13.8 million is expected for direct building construction costs. In addition to the $12 million from City HHH funds, approximately $4.8 million is expected from other government program loans and $9.5 million from investor equity.
The anticipated rental rate will be 30% of an individual resident's monthly income not to exceed $487 (based on 2018 income levels.) The allowable income level and maximum rent changes annually based on Federal government statistical updates.
Why are construction costs so high?
Government agency requirements for payment of prevailing wage substantially increase the cost of construction and limit the number of contractors who are willing to work on the development. California building codes for seismic and energy efficiency standards and requirements for the LEED energy certification are also expensive. Federal import tariffs on building materials, general building industry inflation, and worker shortages are now impacting construction costs for all types of real estate projects. Specific to the proposed building, interior corridors, an elevator, numerous common areas, and the added cost for excavation and construction of an underground garage and build-out of a rooftop deck all add cost. These features are not typically part of a simple walk-up type apartment building that might have cost $200/foot a few years ago.
Is there any information or data about how this construction will impact neighboring property values?
On the website courb.co/bblvd we have provided several studies on how affordable housing and permanent supportive housing impact property values. Many studies have found that affordable housing does not decrease and actually increases property values, that nonprofit affordable housing developers tend to have high design standards (because they maintain long term ownership of the buildings), and that good design and property management actually increase property values in the immediate area of affordable housing.
See the "Studies on Property Values" tab.
What are the next steps in the planning process?
As of May 16, 2019, we have submitted an application for project approval under the city’s affordable housing program guidelines. The application is still under review by the City Planning Department and no dates have been announced. At some point (probably June – July time-frame) the application will be reviewed by a Hearing Officer and then by the City Planning Commission. We currently anticipate that the required approvals will be issued by end of summer and we will be able to buy the property in October 2019.
Will there be opportunities for the community to get involved with the property?
Yes! We welcome volunteers, both individuals and groups, to our properties. Mercy has a long track record of benefiting from the generous contributions which volunteers provide. There will be opportunities to help with many different groups and activities as well as holiday celebrations. We also encourage our residents to volunteer in the community, so if you have suggestions of places we can work, with please let us know.