Today, First Community Housing’s Leigh Avenue, which brings 64 affordable homes to San Jose, had its grand opening on its peaceful outdoor patio – not far from the muddy spot where the February 1st, 2019 groundbreaking took place.
Geoffrey Morgan, CEO of First Community Housing, began the event by introducing three residents of Leigh Avenue: Debbie, Gladys and Kent. All had been homeless for years at a time and now have a place to live. We actually got to meet Kent of Leigh Avenue a few months ago and he told us what having an affordable home means.
The work to create Leigh Avenue was done by a lot of organizations: Destination: Home, Santa Clara County, the City of San Jose, Santa Clara County Housing Authority, Low Income Investment Fund, CalHFA, and others.
Measure A champions Senator Dave Cortese and Supervisor Susan Ellenberg spoke, as did San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Councilmember Dev Davis. Jennifer Loving of Destination:Home emceed the event, which was concluded by some of the First Community Housing team who had worked tirelessly to make Leigh Avenue what it is today: safe, stable, and affordable homes for seniors.
We are grateful for all of the investors and their belief in the power of collaboration, recognizing that housing solutions require all of us to join together with a common purpose: ensuring that each of our neighbors is able to live in stable, safe housing that is affordable.– Noni Ramos, CEO, Housing Trust Silicon Valley
Leigh Avenue has the distinction of being the very first TECH Fund-backed affordable housing project to open its doors. TECH Fund is the affordable housing investment vehicle created in 2017 that enables large employers and philanthropic organizations to invest in affordable housing.
Our CEO, Noni Ramos, marked the grand opening as a celebration of the lives of the residents that changed with Leigh Avenue, and spoke of how the lack of housing is detrimental to the quality of life across Silicon Valley. She also thanked the investors of the TECH Fund, which today includes Cisco, The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Google, The Grove Foundation, LinkedIn, NetApp, Pure Storage and The Sobrato Family Foundation.
Housing Trust’s commitment to the project was $7.75 million made over a several multifamily loans – and our Finally Home program – which receives funding from the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot – provided security deposits to 63 residents.
Multiple ribbon cutting photo-ops were held because not everyone who had a hand in Leigh Avenue’s success could fit in one shot. As more than one speaker suggested, the voters of Measure A in 2016 are also counted when we think on the friends we have in this important work that none of us can do alone.
Congratulations to all who helped make this happen, and thank you to the Leigh Avenue residents who shared their stories.
Photos/drone shots https://www.bernardandre.com/Clients/OJK/1690-Southwest/ (photo credit: Bernard Andre)
additional images/resources for media (photo credit: Housing Trust Silicon Valley)