Part of Larger Revitalization of Downtown Santa Ana


Santa Ana, Calif. – National Community Renaissance (National CORE), the Santa Ana United Methodist Church, Mercy House, the County of Orange, and the City of Santa Ana celebrate the much-anticipated groundbreaking of Legacy Square, a transit-oriented affordable housing development in the heart of Santa Ana. Upon completion, Legacy Square will provide 93 beautiful apartment homes for families and individuals with household incomes between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income. The new community replaces two underutilized buildings owned by the Santa Ana United Methodist Church with sustainable, affordable apartment homes and flexible spaces, bringing new investment to downtown Santa Ana.

“When Santa Ana United Methodist Church saw those who needed a safe place to stay, we provided a home by repurposing a church campus into a place where people could feel secure,” said Douglas P. Gillen, Chairman of the Board of Santa Ana United Methodist Church.

The community is 100 percent affordable and will have 33 apartment homes set aside for permanent supportive housing for vulnerable populations, including individuals experiencing homelessness and veterans. Mercy Housing will provide comprehensive supportive services for residents, focusing on economic mobility and overall well-being.

“There may be little more critical to our present moment than housing. Not simply four walls and a roof, but rather, housing that is safe, housing that is dignified, housing that can restore humanity and housing that can allow us to dream,” said Larry Haynes, CEO of Mercy House. “We at Mercy House are so honored to be partnered with National Community Renaissance, Santa Ana United Methodist Church, and the City of Santa Ana to do just that!”

As part of National CORE’s commitment to sustainable design, a focus throughout the development of Legacy Square was to assist the city, county, and state in incentivizing the use of public transit. Legacy Square is scheduled to finish construction just after Orange County’s 2022 introduction of its first modern streetcar, with a future Orange County streetcar station located directly in front of the community. Residents of the development and the surrounding neighborhood will have access to electric trains running every 15 minutes, with connections to Metrolink’s Southern California-wide transit system.

“The County of Orange is excited to be part of a collaborative effort introducing affordable housing that will conveniently connect to the county’s first modern streetcar,” said Supervisor Andrew Do, Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. “This transit-oriented development is the perfect complement to the balanced and sustainable transportation network that we are continuing to build.”

Legacy Square includes 1750 square feet of ground-level flexible space and a 3800 square foot community center to serve as a hub for neighborhood events and activities.

“The partnership and generosity that have made Legacy Square possible will transform the lives of those who will live here and improve the health, well-being, and economic opportunity of the larger Santa Ana community,” said Steve PonTell, President and CEO of National CORE. “Access to quality affordable housing and public transportation provide the platform for individual and community empowerment.”

Recognizing the potential to simultaneously sponsor both public transit and much-needed affordable housing, the State of California’s Strategic Growth Council awarded National CORE a $25.4 million Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) grant for the development, with $15 million directed toward the affordable housing community and the remainder allocated toward transportation and public improvements, including additional street trees and a small park.

“We are proud to be part of this collaborative effort to provide Santa Ana residents with convenient public transportation and crucial affordable housing options,” said California Strategic Growth Council Acting Executive Director Jessica Buendia. “Congratulations to National CORE, Mercy House, the Santa Ana United Methodist Church, the County, and the City for bringing to life this transformative, community-driven vision.”

Part of the California Strategic Growth Council funding will help support Metrolink’s Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion, allowing Metrolink to increase rail capacity, train speeds and service and making a 15-minute train schedule possible. This will help the City of Santa Ana and Orange County fortify its public transit systems in ways that will benefit local economies and the entire Southern California region.

“Legacy Square will provide greatly needed affordable housing for Santa Ana residents and will contribute to the continued transit-oriented growth of the City’s downtown,” said Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento. “This development demonstrates the City of Santa Ana’s commitment to fostering an equitable and accessible community that can be enjoyed by all.”

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About National Community Renaissance (National CORE)

National CORE is one of the nation’s premier affordable housing developers, building award-winning communities and creating a platform for individual and community change. National CORE creates strong, healthy communities where residents can thrive. In partnership with the Hope through Housing Foundation, National CORE provides impactful resident programs and services to help children and teens achieve success, improve families’ financial well-being, and promote senior health and wellness. For more information on National CORE, please visit

About Mercy House

Mercy House provides housing and comprehensive supportive services for a variety of homeless populations. Our Goal is Simple: To end the cycle of homelessness of those who enter our system of care. For more information on Mercy House, please visit

About Santa Ana United Methodist Church

Santa Ana United Methodist Church is a multicultural, multi-language, and multi-generational community of faith – Cambodian, Caucasian, Filipino, French, Korean, Mexican, Peruvian, Puerto Rican, Tongan – living into and living out our UNITY in Jesus Christ. In today’s world of racial tensions, we strive to live out our primary identity as beloved CHILDREN OF GOD. For more information on the Santa Ana United Methodist Church, please visit

About the County of Orange

Orange County’s 3 million residents enjoy a nearly perfect climate in which parks and beaches provide abundant opportunities for outdoor activities. Orange County is the home of exciting professional sports, a wide range of tourist attractions and quality venues for visual and performing arts. Orange County boasts a thriving business economy and a well educated work force. The County of Orange is a regional service provider and planning agency whose core businesses include public safety, public health, environmental protection, regional planning, public assistance, social services and aviation. The County of Orange’s mission is to make Orange County a safe, healthy, and fulfilling place to live, work, and play, today and for generations to come, by providing outstanding, cost-effective regional public services. For more information on the County of Orange, please visit

About the City of Santa Ana

Santa Ana is downtown for the world-famous Orange County, California. It is the County Seat, the second-most populous city in Orange County, and is home to a vibrant evening scene and arts community. Over 1,200 City employees work hard every day to deliver efficient public services in partnership with our community to ensure public safety, a prosperous economic environment, opportunities for our youth, and a high quality of life for residents. For more information on the City of Santa Ana, please visit