Money will help fund 93 high-quality, affordable housing units and neighborhood upgrades in the heart of Santa Ana in partnership with the City of Santa Ana, Mercy House, and the Santa Ana United Methodist Church

Santa Ana, Calif. – The city, community stakeholders, and regional leaders are celebrating the formal approval of a $25.4 million award from the California Strategic Growth Council, which helps to further the City of Santa Ana’s vision for creating inclusive and sustainable housing along transportation corridors, integrating health, wellness, and active living.

Funding from the award will be leveraged to create a transit-oriented, multi-purpose, affordable housing development adjacent to a future Orange County Streetcar station located at Santa Ana Boulevard and French Street. The development, known as Legacy Square, will replace two underutilized buildings owned by the Santa Ana United Methodist Church with high-quality affordable apartment homes and flexible space, bringing new investment to downtown Santa Ana.

“I think from the perspective of Santa Ana United Methodist Church, the repurposing of this property represents honoring the legacy of those who have been faithful in the past, while creating a new legacy for those in the future,” said Douglas P. Gillen, Chairman of the Board, Santa Ana United Methodist Church.

The contemporary and mission revival design of Legacy Square will complement the surrounding neighborhood helping to revitalize downtown Santa Ana. The award includes funding for urban greening projects in the surrounding neighborhood including new street trees and a pocket park on Mortimer Street where it meets Santa Ana Boulevard. Together these elements will promote a diverse and thriving community.

“We are honored to have the support of the California Strategic Growth Council in building a healthy community that provides long-term opportunities for residents and businesses,” said Santa Ana Mayor Miguel A. Pulido. “The Legacy Square Development will bring much-needed affordable housing options, new transit opportunities, and infrastructure improvements to residents of Santa Ana.”

Legact Square rendering, Santa Ana, California

Legacy Square will be 100 percent affordable, featuring 93 beautiful apartment homes, more than 1,750 square feet of ground-level flexible space, and a 3,800 square foot community center to serve as a neighborhood hub for events and activities. The community will provide housing for individuals and families with household incomes ranging from 30 to 60 percent of the area median income, with 33 apartment homes set-aside for permanent supportive housing. Mercy House will provide comprehensive supportive services, focusing on economic mobility and overall well-being.

“This is an amazing project on so many levels, from its beautiful design to addressing critical needs,” said Larry Haynes, Executive Director of Mercy House. “Not only are we ending the homelessness of some very vulnerable people, but also we are addressing an immediate local need for affordable housing for larger families. We are so honored to be National CORE’s partner on this project and many others to come!”

The total award amount for Legacy Square is $25,431,865 with the following allocation: housing ($15 million), transportation and public improvements ($9,997,865 – includes $8 million for Metrolink signal improvement, and programs ($434,000).

“National CORE is so honored to be awarded this funding to invest in the City of Santa Ana. We have great partners in the Santa Ana United Methodist Church and Mercy House,” said National CORE President and CEO Steve PonTell. “Together we are building a healthy, strong, vibrant community where families have access to opportunities, resources, and essential services within walking distance of their home.”

In addition to the housing, the AHSC funds will help increase the capacity of the region’s commuter rail system by supporting Metrolink’s SCORE (Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion) program. Specifically, funding will allow Metrolink to increase rail capacity, train speeds and service – facilitating departures up to every 15 minutes all day in both directions along the agency’s Orange County and Inland Empire–Orange County lines.

“This is an important investment in our SCORE program – and will help us continue to enhance our essential transportation service,” stated Metrolink CEO Stephanie N. Wiggins. “Economic development and an improved transportation system go hand-in-hand to create more opportunities for the residents and communities of our region.”

Other infrastructure improvements include: new bicycle lanes along Santiago Street, the construction and repair of more than 2,000 feet of sidewalks, installation of high visibility continental crossings, curb extensions and reductions, a new traffic circle, and new curb ramps, creating a safe route to school for families in the neighborhood.

National CORE will work with several community-based organizations in order to complete the vision for the community. The Bicycle Tree, a local nonprofit, will operate a bicycle kiosk within Legacy Square that will include a repair station, bike donations to those in need, maintenance, classes on safety, and other bike-related topics. In addition, a portion of the funding will be allocated to Taller San Jose Hope Builders, a local workforce development organization in Santa Ana, to provide training programs to residents of Legacy Square and the surrounding neighborhood.

Legacy Square represents the future of urban development, encompassing the goals of the AHSC program and National CORE’s commitment to providing cost-contained, high-performance developments, providing affordable housing options near major transit systems, increasing mobility options, promoting sustainable urban design, and helping to transform the community.


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About National CORE (National CORE)

National CORE based in Southern California, is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit developers of affordable housing. National CORE manages nearly 9,000 affordable, senior, and market-rate units in California, Texas, and Florida. National CORE’s strength is in its ability to offer partners an array of in-house capabilities that navigates the complexities of planning, developing, building, managing, and providing supportive services. For more information on National CORE, please visit

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