Seniors Find A New Home
Susan Friedland, Executive Director
Affordable Housing Associates
T: 510-649-8500 x15
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Grand Opening Media Event
Friday, February 27th
10:00 am to 11:30 am
Program at 10:30 am
Tours available at 10am and 11am at 2719 Foothill Boulevard; Oakland, CA
Seniors Find A New Home
February 27, 2009 – Oakland, Calif. – Affordable Housing Associates (AHA) today will celebrate the grand opening of The Orchards on Foothill located at 2719 Foothill Boulevard in Oakland, CA. AHA's newest infill development provides 64 homes to very low-income seniors aged 55 and over. Residents earn an average of $10,900 per year and many were formerly homeless. Feedback from residents has been overwhelmingly positive. “Every morning I wake up with tears in my eyes and I just can't believe that I get to live here. This is the best reward I have ever been given,” says resident Askale Afework. AHA received over 600 applications to The Orchards and worked closely with local organizations such as Lao Family Community Development and San Antonio Neighborhood Network to widely market the units.
All 64 one-bedroom apartments provide Section 8 rental subsidy and are affordable to seniors earning between 30% - 50% of Area Median Income, which is $30,150 or less per year for a single person household. Building amenities include free wireless internet, ample outdoor terraces and courtyards, generous lounges and activity rooms, a laundry room and an enclosed parking garage. On-site social service coordination is provided by Toolworks, a local human services agency dedicated to providing tools and resources that promote independence and equality. Toolworks is helping residents get settled in and will coordinate future resident events including gardening activities.
This former industrial site was remediated and transformed into a beautiful, sustainable project that minimizes its impact on the environment and provides healthy living spaces for residents. A bioswale minimizes rainwater run-off and photovoltaic solar panels provide most of the common area electricity. Beauty and durability go hand in hand with ceramic tile floors, granite kitchen countertops, natural linoleum flooring and Green Label carpet. Energy efficiency and indoor air quality are achieved with high efficiency hydronic heating, a fresh air ventilation system, large windows, ceiling fans, and low VOC paints and materials. Additional design and architectural features include colorful etched glass panels designed by Oakland artist Dorothy Lenehan and handmade quilts displayed in common areas. Pyatok Architects, one of the development team members, worked closely with AHA to achieve the site's transformation. “The Orchards is intended to be a beacon of hope and delight, sending a message to all the neighborhood that there is a new and grand home for their revered seniors as well as a beautiful new symbol of a caring neighborhood,” reflects Mike Pyatok.
AHA thanks our many partners who made The Orchards possible including Pyatok Architects, JH Fitzmaurice General Contractors, Oakland City Council, City of Oakland Community and Economic Development Agency, Oakland Housing Authority, Wells Fargo Bank, Alliant Capital, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Northern California Community Loan Fund, Far East National Bank and The Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program.
About Affordable Housing Associates:
Incorporated in 1993, Affordable Housing Associates (AHA) is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. AHA's mission is to strengthen the lives of individuals, families, and communities through affordable housing. AHA meets with neighborhood residents, city commissions, and government agencies as an important part of every development, actively seeking input from the communities in which our projects are located and incorporating suggestions whenever possible. AHA counters urban sprawl by building and renovating housing in existing neighborhoods where public services are already in place and helps revitalize neighborhoods by removing blight. AHA strives to enhance the economic development of the populations we serve and of the larger community in which we operate by hiring locally and using local suppliers. In the 15 years since the organization was incorporated, AHA has developed over 900 housing units.