The Orchard, Santa Ana, CA

COMMUNITY

Goal: To create a cutting edge Permanent Supportive Housing project that raises the bar in Orange County by serving as a model for a holistic approach to solving OC’s homelessness crisis.

Located just outside of artsy downtown Santa Ana, The Orchard is one of CDP’s recent adaptive reuse and rehabilitation projects, completed in December 2017 and designed for Santa Ana’s chronically homeless population. Formerly the Guest Inn and Suites motel with a seedy reputation, this rehabilitated complex is now a 72-unit permanent supportive housing community designed specifically to promote resident engagement in communal activities and long-term case management opportunities. As Santa Ana’s largest Permanent Supportive Housing project to date, The Orchard consists of studio and one-bedroom units dedicated to independent, successful living with the mission to end homelessness in Orange County. Common areas are vital to the community, including a communal dining hall with a fully equipped commercial kitchen, an onsite case management office, a large community garden with garden boxes, picnic tables, and community learning space, and an outdoor courtyard with community tables and an outdoor kitchen. A crucial part of most CDP projects are the organizations that partner with CDP to offer invaluable services for our residents. At The Orchard, the Santa Ana-based non-profit organization Mercy House has three full-time staff members onsite five days per week offering case management, referrals, and resources in order to make residents’ transition from the street to housing successful in the long-term.

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DEVELOPMENT

The Orchard is much more than just a former motel acting as housing; the project embodies the mission of CDP: developing life-enhancing affordable communities by engaging with local organizations and citizens to meet the community’s housing needs through thoughtful planning and development with a focus on long term engagement. The pride of place created through the edible landscaping and significant garden that is managed by a full time garden manager plus the incredible mural are unprecedented in Orange County affordable housing. This project came to fruition after several years of entitlement and financing work, aided by the City of Santa Ana, Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), and Mercy House. As with any adaptive reuse and rehabilitation project, there were roadblocks and constraints along the way — including entitlement difficulties (the City would not allow a zone change from Commercial to Residential so we had to find a workaround), Congregate Care limitations (e.g. half-size kitchens in units), and the need to close escrow prior to having all funding secured.  In the end CDP succeeded and provided Santa Ana’s largest Permanent Supportive Housing community to date.

Opportunities:
-Low cost per unit on acquisition as a motel
-Large underutilized parking lot that could be reclaimed as an ecological oasis
-Rooms that had both bathrooms and kitchens

Constraints:
-Difficult entitlement process
-Requirement to close escrow before final funding were secured

Data
Number of Units: 72 (including manager’s unit)
Lot Size: 1.30 acres
Density: 55.3 units/acre
Unit Size: 366-512 square feet
Unit Mix: 14 1BD/1BA, 58 STUDIO/1BA
Parking Spaces: 35
Affordability: 0%-30% AMI
Financing: 4% Federal & State LIHTC, TEB, AHP, HOME, HAP Contract
Sustainability: Green Point Rated
Architect: Egan Simon
Contractor: Ashwood Construction Co.
Property Management: Solari
Non-Profit Partner: Integrity Housing / Mercy House
Total Cost: $18,951,428
Cost Per Unit:  $263,214

Sources
4% LIHTC Equity $6,509,544
Perm Loan $10,532,016
HOME Funds $1,199,869
AHP $710,000

Uses
Acquisition $6,824,125
Construction $6,574,355
Development $5,552,948



PARTNERS

CDP is proud to partner with these organizations, dedicated to bettering the lives not only of The Orchard’s residents, but of those lower-income residents in surrounding communities.

 

Mercy House
Mercy House is a nonprofit organization that’s core mission is to end homelessness. Based in Santa Ana, Mercy House provides housing and comprehensive supportive services for a variety of homeless populations which include families, adult men and women, mothers and their children, persons living with HIV/AIDS, individuals overcoming substance addictions, and some who are physically and mentally disabled. At The Orchard, Mercy House serves chronically homeless individuals and small families, many who suffer from substance abuse issues, mental and/or physical disabilities, and other trauma-related illnesses caused by their chronicity on the streets. Mercy House has placed 1 part-time and 3 full-time case managers in an onsite office in order to work with their clients regularly to overcome their challenges, encourage their participation in onsite events and activities, and to help aid their transition from living on the streets to living in a housing community.

ONOLB & OC Kitchen
Andre Roberson, Vice President of Official No One Left Behind (ONOLB), was engaged in order to provide nutritious meals to residents twice a day on weekdays. The non-profit organization’s commercial kitchen space and programming was modeled with the help of Robert Egger, founder of L.A. Kitchen, and has transformed into OC Kitchen, working with well-preserved donated foods, local food banks, and restaurant partners including Seasons 52, Chipotle, and others. In addition to serving meals to residents at no cost, the kitchen has developed kitchen training and volunteer programming that the residents can participate in with the ultimate goal of attaining employment training. In the long-term, it is the hope that the job training received in the kitchen can help residents become employable in the service industry and give them skills to utilize in their apartment kitchens as well!



The Ecology Center
In order to successfully and thoughtfully design the outdoor spaces, The Ecology Center (TEC) was engaged to plan and execute the design of the community garden and landscaping. TEC intentionally designed a holistic garden community that was modeled after the rehabilitation and reuse characteristics of the property. By incorporating sustainable systems onsite -- such as solar panels on the roof, large rainwater catchment systems throughout the site, bioswale to collect rainwater and runoff, and garden composting systems -- The Orchard is able to try to reuse and recycle any plantings and food grown, donated, or prepared onsite sustainably. Edible landscaping was incorporated throughout the site and a modified shipping container was designed for the community garden to act as a learning center. Garden workshops and maintenance classes are provided by TEC and an onsite staff member several times per month. Additionally, workshops from other organizations are held in the courtyard and garden spaces to encourage a sense of community in the neighborhood.

Veterans Yoga Project
As many of the resident’s struggle with substance abuse, addictions, mental and/or physical disabilities and a variety of trauma-related illnesses manifested during their time living on the street, Veterans Yoga Project (VYP) was approached to offer a coping method and community activity for our residents. VYP offers weekly yoga classes that are modified for all abilities and incorporate their Mindful Resilience method. The yoga teachers trained through VYP use non-harming language and develop a calming yoga practice to help participants find coping methods for PTSD and other trauma-related illnesses.


Faces of Santa Ana
Led by founder Brian Peterson, Faces of Santa Ana is a passion project where he set out to befriend and paint portraits of the homeless community in Santa Ana, CA.  He then sells the artwork and use proceeds to help in rehabilitating his newfound friends. The mission of Faces of Santa Ana is to locally help those in need in cities around the world while also inspiring and activating creatives and supporters of the movement.  Brian believes that the creativity he’s been given is meant for the outward pouring of love. Brian along with fellow artist Damin Luja painted an incredible 3,000ft2 mural on the back and side of Thet Orchard building composed of resident’s faces and elements gleaned from interviews with each of them.