Complete Renovation Transforms Community, Offering Hope to Low-Income and Unhoused Seniors
Cathedral City, Calif. – After nearly three decades, National CORE, the County of Riverside, Cathedral City and their partners are excited to celebrate the grand re-opening of Cathedral Palms, an affordable housing community for low-income seniors in Cathedral City, California. Originally acquired by National CORE in 1996, the newly renovated Cathedral Palms now offers 224 high-quality affordable apartment homes for seniors earning less than 60% of the area median income. Sixty-eight of these homes have been set aside for unhoused seniors to combat the homelessness crisis in the Coachella Valley.
“Since acquiring Cathedral Palms in 1996, National CORE has endeavored to serve Cathedral City and the western Coachella Valley with a senior community that provides stable housing and onsite services for the hard-working folks who have lived and worked across the valley for decades. We also needed to seriously address the shortage of permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless seniors in the region,” said National CORE Vice President of Acquisitions Tony Mize. “The new Cathedral Palms is built to be sustainable for many years into the future, with a total renovation of all apartment homes and the addition of a new community center that significantly enhances services for all residents.”
Senior homelessness is on the rise in California and is projected to triple by 2030. A recent study conducted by Harvard University reported that the rising cost of living and stagnant incomes are leaving seniors at risk of homelessness as they struggle to cover their expenses. This is especially acute for seniors with a history of health problems, as unexpected life events can make it financially difficult to maintain housing. Permanent supportive housing, a low-barrier model that combines affordable housing with coordinated services, can help to fill that need.
“The re-opening of Cathedral Palms Senior Apartments is a great moment for Cathedral City and will be a key asset when it comes to combatting homelessness in our community,” said Cathedral City Mayor Rita Lamb. “These renovated, affordable apartment homes will significantly reduce the burden for low-income and unhoused seniors and we’re grateful for the continued commitment on this issue by our partners at National CORE and the County of Riverside.”
National CORE has been developing plans to revitalize the 1950s-era Cathedral Palms since acquiring the community in 1996. However, because of limited funding sources for affordable housing in the region and the elimination of redevelopment agencies in California in 2012, efforts to revitalize this large community became an impossible dream. It took many years to bring together public and private partners to make the dream a reality. In 2019, the renovation took a major step forward when Riverside County was awarded $7.7 million from the State of California’s No Place Like Home program to help fund the renovation of Cathedral Palms and, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was able to allocate critical HUD Section 8 Project Based Vouchers to significantly reduce the rent burden of our formerly homeless and very low-income senior residents.
“Cathedral Palms Senior Apartments is an important housing asset that had long needed a major revitalization,” said Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “I’m very proud that Riverside County, alongside nonprofit affordable housing developer National CORE, and working very closely with the City of Cathedral City has provided such a supportive role to make the complete renovation of Cathedral Palms possible. This is a really great project, as it improves the quality of housing for our seniors and ensures affordable housing to take care of residents in need in the Coachella Valley.”
Now, the shared vision of National CORE, the County of Riverside, the City of Cathedral City, and their partners has been achieved and the new Cathedral Palms is home to over two hundred senior residents. Cathedral Palms features a modern 3,600-square-foot community center that will act as the hub for resident activities and services, providing leasing and supportive services office space, resident meeting and recreational rooms and a demonstration kitchen. Additional onsite amenities include two swimming pools, laundry facilities and onsite supportive services and programs coordinated by the Hope through Housing Foundation.
“Riverside University Health Systems – Behavioral Health is proud to support this project with our community partners with the collective goal of creating a healthier Cathedral City,” said Director of RUHS-Behavioral Health, Dr. Matthew Chang.
Riverside University Health System’s Behavioral Health Department will offer supportive services focused on mental health and substance abuse services, working with previously homeless residents to help them adjust to their new environment. The Hope through Housing Foundation will provide other onsite services focused on helping residents age in place with dignity, such as on-going food distribution, social engagement and physical and mental health programming. Cathedral Palms offers low-income seniors and unhoused seniors the opportunity to gain stability and find the support and resources they need to thrive.
“Everyone deserves access to a high-quality, safe, and affordable place to live. This is especially key for older adults, many of whom are living on fixed incomes and have increasing health-related expenses,” said Head of Impact Investment Strategy at Aetna, a CVS Health company, Keli Savage. “Through this investment to renovate and preserve affordable housing units with National CORE and Red Stone Equity Partners, we’re ensuring Cathedral City residents have a beautiful, accessible and affordable community with supportive services that will empower them to live out their best lives safely and independently in their own homes and community.”
The revitalization of this community was made possible through strong partners. The State of California HCD’s No Place Like Home program awarded the County of Riverside and National CORE $7.7 million for the 68 supportive housing units. The County of Riverside, in coordination with HUD, allocated 94 project-based vouchers and $2.0 million in HOME ARP funding. Through the years, The City of Cathedral City has provided continual political and financial support to the community. Funding was provided by Chase, Red Stone Equity Partners and facilitated by the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, California Debt Limit Allocation Committee and the California Municipal Finance Authority.
“The revitalization of Cathedral Palms has been a dream for decades and we are incredibly proud to work with long time partner National CORE to make this dream a reality,” said Vice President of Community Development Banking at Chase, Rosalind Ross. “The re-opening comes at a time when housing in the area continues to be in great need. We know these homes will be an indispensable asset for the community transforming the lives of seniors, with the addition of onsite supportive services.”
Together, these partners helped to ensure that Cathedral Palms remains a vibrant, affordable community for seniors for decades to come.
About National CORE
National CORE is one of the largest nonprofit developers in the nation, with a 30-year history of being an innovator in the field. In 2021 National CORE became one of only two affordable housing developers to earn an A+ credit rating from Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings. In 2022, National CORE issued $100 million in Series 2022 Social Bonds to accelerate the development of critically needed affordable housing. Serving more than 25,000 residents, National CORE strives to be a launching pad, not a landing pad, for families struggling financially. In 1998 National CORE created the Hope through Housing Foundation, a philanthropic nonprofit, whose mission is to end the cycle of generational poverty through resident services that promote educational attainment, economic mobility, and overall wellbeing.
About Hope through Housing
Hope through Housing believes that affordable housing can be a platform for transformational change at the individual and neighborhood level. For more than 20 years, the Hope through Housing Foundation has provided more than 2 million hours of transformational social services helping children and teens achieve success, improving families’ financial well-being, and promoting seniors’ health and wellness. For more information on Hope through Housing, please visit www.hthf.org.
About Riverside University Health System – Behavioral Health
RUHS-Public Health is part of Riverside University Health System and was created to protect the wellbeing of Riverside County residents and visitors. Public Health offers a wide range of services and programs, with a staff of more than 700 doctors, nurses, health educators, social workers, nutritionists, communicable disease and community program specialists, managers and fiscal and support staff. The services include disease control investigation, nutrition education, immunization, epidemiology, injury prevention, home health visits, and so much more.
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