San Diego, Ca. – National CORE on Dec. 14 launched construction of its 24th San Diego community, a result of a robust, decades‐long partnership with the County of San Diego, San Diego Housing Commission and the City of San Diego to address the region’s housing crisis.
The Iris at San Ysidro will provide 100 beautiful homes, including 15 permanent supportive housing apartments for residents who have experienced homelessness or who are at risk of experiencing homelessness. (Watch a video of the Dec. 9 groundbreaking ceremony.)
National CORE currently operates 20 communities across San Diego County. The developer will open three more communities in 2024, followed by The Iris in 2025, collectively providing a total of 2,021 apartment homes across San Diego County, including 336 permanent supportive housing apartments.
The affordable housing communities support a comprehensive approach to reducing homelessness championed by the County of San Diego and the City of San Diego. Still, despite aggressive construction efforts, 10,246 county residents experienced homelessness in 2023, a 22% jump from 2022, according to the 2023 Point in Time Count.
“Everyone in San Diego needs a place to call home that they can afford. For 99 families with very low income, The Iris at San Ysidro development will be the answer to their housing challenges,” SDHC Interim President & CEO Jeff Davis said. “The San Diego Housing Commission looks forward to continuing to work with the mayor, City Council, city staff, developers like National CORE and additional partners to create more developments like this one to provide families with stable homes.”
The Iris will provide 27 one‐, 32 two‐ and 36 three‐bedroom apartments for families and individuals earning less than 60% of the area median income. Half the homes in the four‐story property will include enhanced mobility‐access features; five will include communications‐access features. The 15 permanent supportive housing apartments will be fully furnished.
“San Diego has set the gold standard when it comes to delivering on the promise of affordable housing,” National CORE President Michael Ruane said. “Leaders across the county – and especially in the City of San Diego – are doing everything possible to meet this incredible need, including working closely with affordable housing developers to streamline and speed up the construction process. We couldn’t ask for better partners.”
The Iris, a transit‐oriented community, is located near a trolley station and bus lines, family health facilities, employment centers and an elementary school, in addition to the soon‐to‐be restored Howard Lane Park, supported by a $5 million state grant. Onsite amenities include a 1,032‐square‐foot community center to serve as a hub for residents, children’s play areas, office spaces and outdoor seating and gathering areas.
In 2021, San Diego Major Todd Gloria announced the Homes for All of Us Initiative, which is designed to hasten development of affordable housing.
“The Iris at San Ysidro is benefiting from two recent city initiatives – Bridge to Home and my executive order requiring speedier permit delivery for affordable housing projects,” Gloria said. “These programs are helping us address our housing crisis head‐on, and that means this project is representative of our steadfast commitment to building more homes that San Diegans can afford and creating economic opportunity. I want to thank National CORE, Hope through Housing, Casa Familiar and San Ysidro Health for creating a project that we will all be proud of.”
As a National CORE standard, The Iris will prioritize water conservation, energy efficiency and sustainability in each apartment home – solar panels will provide energy for heating and cooling. The Iris is expected to qualify for LEED for Homes Gold Certification or better.
Hope through Housing Foundation will provide academic support services for children and teens, foster economic mobility and nurture senior connections in conjunction with Casa Familiar, a nonprofit service provider based in San Diego.
“Casa Familiar is a 50‐year‐old organization rooted in San Ysidro,” Casa Familiar CEO Lisa Cuestas said. “We look forward to connecting our vision of a healthy community to provide quality engagement and services at The Iris as a partner with National Core and the City of San Diego.”
In addition to the County of San Diego’s capital investment, Behavioral Health Services will provide primary services to the residents of permanent supportive housing to ensure housing security and stability. San Ysidro Health will supply residents with health education opportunities and screenings.
“Affordable housing and specifically permanent supportive housing like The Iris at San Ysidro are the foundation for building healthy and stable lives for our most vulnerable neighbors,” said David Estrella, director of San Diego County Housing and Community Development Services. “The county is committed to investing in permanent supportive housing such as The Iris to ensure that generations to come live in a healthy and safe environment that allows them to thrive.”
The Iris was made possible through funds committed by the San Diego Housing Commission, the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego’s No Place Like Home and Innovative Housing Trust Fund programs and Wells Fargo.
The development is expected to be completed in 2025, following openings in 2024 for Greenbrier Village, Santa Fe Senior Village and Nestor Senior Village, the three other developments now under construction.