Construction is underway for Orchard View Gardens, a 66-home affordable housing community for seniors that represents National CORE’s third partnership with an Orange County church – a creative solution to the lack of land available for critically needed housing.
National CORE, St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church, the City of Buena Park and their partners broke ground Aug. 15.
“Orchard View Gardens is a great example of what is possible when public and private partners work together to tackle housing challenges,” National CORE President Michael Ruane said. “Such collaborations leverage resources and expertise that lead to impactful solutions that benefit residents, especially seniors, who struggle with housing affordability.”
Anticipated to be complete in fall 2024, Orchard View Gardens will transform 1.76 acres of underutilized church land into beautiful apartment homes for seniors ages 62 and better earning less than 60% of the area median income. Eight homes will be reserved for seniors who have experienced homelessness.
“St. Joseph’s has long desired to be part of the solution to Orange County’s housing shortage,” said Rev. Cindy Voien, rector at St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church. “Only adding housing stock at the affordable end of the range of rents can provide relief, and this is what our partnership is doing. We look forward to welcoming new neighbors right next to our church. This community aligns with our ministry goals and the goals of the civic entities with whom we are working with.”
Orchard View Gardens is located near retail shops, grocery stores, parks and services. The development will feature California Mission-style architecture to complement the church and the surrounding neighborhoods. Nine single-story casitas will adorn the property’s north side while taller buildings will sit to the west and at the center.
Amenities include a 3,000-square-foot community room, a fitness room, a computer room, private patios and balconies, an outdoor leisure area, a recreational area and barbecues. The community is pet-friendly and features laundry facilities on each floor.
As a five-time LEED Power Builder, National CORE prioritizes water conservation, energy efficiency and sustainability in each apartment development. At Orchard View Gardens, a solar panel system will provide carbon emission-free energy. National CORE anticipates that Orchard View Gardens will receive a LEED for Homes certification at the Gold level or better.
“Not only will this project provide critical housing to low-income seniors in our community, but it will do so with the goal of maximizing sustainability,” Buena Park Mayor Art Brown said. “The combination of these attributes makes this a great project for Buena Park.”
The development was made possible through financial resources committed by the City of Buena Park, County of Orange and the Orange County Housing Authority, the California Housing Finance Agency and the California Housing Finance Agency and the Orange County Housing Finance Trust.
“The collaboration of so many stakeholders and partners, the beautiful sustainable design and the comprehensive services make this community a significant step toward strengthening the well-being of senior residents in the area,” National CORE Senior Vice President of Planning and Acquisitions Alexa Washburn said.
Recently, Legacy Square’s grand opening in Santa Ana marked the beginning of a slate of new Orange County developments from National CORE, one of the nation’s leading developers of affordable living communities.
Santa Angelina, a church partnership development in Placentia, is expected to be completed in just a few months. Miraflores, a development in Anaheim, is slated to be finished in spring 2024.
“I am excited for the opening of Orchard View Gardens, which will add to the list of affordable housing developments in the Fourth District,” Orange County 4th District Supervisor Doug Chaffee said. “Thank you to National CORE, St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church and the City of Buena Park for building this development and providing senior residents with the support services they need.”
To ensure basic needs are met, Hope through Housing Foundation will provide senior residents with connections to nutritional food sufficiency program assistance, health management resources as well as social and civic engagement through recreational activities.
Additionally, the Orange County Health Care Agency, Mental Health and Recovery Services will provide case management, peer support activities, crisis counseling, support for medical and mental benefits counseling and housing retention skills.
“To get a permanent supportive housing community such as Orchard View Gardens approved is a process that involves many partners dedicated to serving our community,” said Ian Kemmer, LMFT, Assistant Deputy Director of Adult and Older Adult, Mental Health and Recovery Services at Orange County Health Care Agency.
“The Health Care Agency is supporting this project with Mental Health Services Act funds to develop units dedicated to individuals with serious mental illness who are experiencing homelessness,” he said. “Providing a home to some of our most vulnerable citizens, seniors struggling with mental health conditions, is so important to their health and safety and is a part of HCA’s overall mission. HCA will also provide housing supportive services to these individuals. People will be provided a community-based program that provides comprehensive treatment and housing support, focusing on preventing individuals from losing their housing and increasing housing sustainability.”