Placentia, Calif. – National CORE’s Santa Angelina affordable housing community, opened in May, has created a haven for seniors in need within the supportive embrace of Placentia’s Church of the Blessed Sacrament.

The development provides 65 beautiful apartments on the church campus – the first of three National CORE partnerships with the Episcopal Church of Los Angeles that are turning underutilized land into critically needed housing.

“Santa Angelina is a testament to how a community can come together to create a remarkable resource for our most vulnerable residents,” said Michael Ruane, president of National CORE. “These new homes not only provide a safe, stable home, but they also benefit from having the established church community literally at their center.”

Leaders from National CORE, the Episcopal Church of the Blessed Sacrament, the City of Placentia, Orange County and their partners gathered May 13 to celebrate Santa Angelina’s grand opening.

The community serves 64 senior households earning less than 60% of the area median income. Twenty-one apartments are reserved as permanent supportive housing for unhoused seniors or seniors at-risk of becoming unhoused. An additional apartment houses an onsite manager.

Seniors are among the fastest growing populations of individuals becoming homeless. Orange County’s 2024 point-in-time homelessness count, conducted in January, shows a two-year increase of 28% in overall homelessness, a total of 7,322 people, including more than 10% seniors.

“The opening of Santa Angelina is a significant milestone, as we will be able to house and support some of our most vulnerable seniors,” said Doug Chaffee, vice chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors and 4th District supervisor. “This achievement highlights the effectiveness of religious institutions, local governments and developers partnering to develop affordable housing, and we commend the Episcopal Church of the Blessed Sacrament for opening their hearts and contributing the land for these 65 affordable units.”

The church partnership allowed National CORE to create senior housing in a resource-rich area of Placentia. Santa Angelina is within walking distance of retail stores, pharmacies, local restaurants and gyms.

“The Santa Angelina project is an amazing collaboration involving many partners that began with a congregation’s curiosity about its neighbors and willingness to take a leap of faith and throw open their doors,” said the Rt. Rev. John Harvey Taylor, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. “They knew that having a major construction project on their church and preschool grounds wouldn’t always be easy. But Blessed Sacrament people had faith in things not seen. They believed they had the power to create places for their neighbors to lay their heads. Our colleagues at National CORE and ECS and the City of Placentia and Orange County came alongside and turned faith into reality.”

As part of the partnership, the development program included rebuilding Blessed Sacrament’s parish hall and replacing roofs for the sanctuary and an office building.

“It was a change that benefitted our community, our parish and of those less fortunate, creating an outreach center that helps those who need it the most,” said the Rev. Barrett Van Buren, rector of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament. “The new parish hall has opened opportunities for fellowship. The modernization is so important for our community.”

The property joins National CORE’s expanding Orange County pipeline. Miraflores, a family community in Anaheim, will add 86 apartments. Orchard View Gardens, a senior-serving community, will add 66 apartment homes on the campus of St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church in Buena Park. The senior development is National CORE’s second partnership with the Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church of Los Angeles has committed to creating affordable housing at 33 properties across Southern California and the Central Coast. All will serve residents who have experienced homelessness or who were at risk of becoming unhoused.

“In 1923, Episcopal Communities & Services began with a mission of providing housing to those in our area at risk of not being able to afford a safe, dignified place to live. A century later, we’re committed to facilitating the development of exceptional and affordable housing on diocesan church properties throughout the six counties where we’re serving our neighbors,” said the Rev. Michael Bell, director of housing & business development for Episcopal Communities & Services. “We are grateful for Bishop Taylor’s vision as well as the persistence and collaboration of the Blessed Sacrament parish family and National CORE for bringing this new Santa Angelina housing community to life.”

Residents of Santa Angelina are members of an engaged, service-rich community linked to the adjacent church and neighborhood through a network of paseos, plazas and courtyards. The development includes a 1,500-square-foot community center that serves as a hub for events, supportive services and programs.

“Santa Angelina is providing 64 much-needed homes and services to help ensure the security and well-being of our senior population, and we look forward to welcoming new residents to Placentia,” Placentia Councilmember Ward L. Smith said. “This development highlights the city’s commitment to creating affordable, quality housing options and services for all our residents.”

Santa Angelina residents share use of onsite amenities with the church, such as outdoor recreation space and event programming. Episcopal Communities & Services provides residents with food, home goods, bedding and other necessities.

The Orange County Health Care Agency and the Oasis Program provide case management services to ensure that residents have all the tools they need to remain healthy and housed.

“Behavioral Health Services at the Orange County Health Care agency is dedicated to serving people in Orange County who are struggling with mental health conditions,” said Ian Kemmer, OC Health Care Agency assistant deputy director, adult and older adult mental health, behavioral health services. “This includes helping people find safe and stable living arrangements and providing onsite mental health services to support them in staying housed. We are so excited to be able to help fund dedicated mental health units at the beautiful Santa Angelina site to support this vulnerable population and our community in general.”

Hope through Housing Foundation provides additional supportive services – from programs and events focused on employment, social connectedness, and health and wellness as well as connections to outside resources to break the cycle of generational poverty.

“Hope through Housing is committed to ensuring that National CORE residents flourish,” Hope through Housing Vice President Alyssa Cotter said. “Alongside our partners, we seek to cultivate a sense of community and connect them with every possible resource.”

In addition, the all-electric development was designed with the latest in sustainability features, limiting its carbon footprint through extensive use of solar power, high-efficiency appliances, all-electric heat pumps and energy-efficient building envelope. The building’s systems help it approach zero net energy. Santa Angelina is anticipated to receive a LEED for Gold certification.

The development is funded in part through the Orange County Housing Finance Trust, J.P. Morgan Chase Construction Loan, Century Housing Permanent Loan, California’s No Place Like Home Funding and CalOptima Health.

“National CORE’s Santa Angelina Senior Community is bringing more than just sustainable, affordable housing to Placentia,” said Rosalind Ross, Chase Community Development Banking vice president. “We are proud to fund a project that will support the community and its senior residents, with the addition of supportive services and community space.”

“The Orange County Housing Finance Trust continues to address our community’s pressing need for high-quality housing for our lowest-income residents,” said Katrina Foley, Orange County Housing Finance Trust chair and District 5 supervisor. “Our Trust funds provided needed gap funding to assist with the development of Santa Angelina. As our point-in-time count revealed, permanent housing lags behind the need. Fortunately, our incredible coalition of partners, built over the last five years, allows us to work with urgency to fulfill this need.”

“CalOptima Health is pleased to have contributed $1.3 million to help fund affordable apartment homes for members who are 62 years or older,” said Michael Hunn, CEO of CalOptima Health. “The ‘Silver Tsunami’ is here, and seniors are the fastest-growing demographic in need of stable housing. The Santa Angelina community will provide seniors with a welcoming community and the security of a home as the foundation of their health. Congratulations to National CORE on your successful grand opening of Santa Angelina!”

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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 well-being.