Berkeley recently took a step toward building more affordable housing for seniors, breaking ground on a four-story structure near the Ashby BART Station.
The building, dubbed Harper Crossing, will contain 42 one-bedroom units that are expected to house about 75 low-income seniors at 3231 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
To qualify, applicants must be 62 or older and make between $19,000 and $44,000 a year — that’s 30 to 60 percent of the area’s median income. Section 8 voucher holders also qualify.
Susan Friedland, executive director of Satellite Affordable Housing Associates (SAHA), says the project has been long in the making. Although the nonprofit developer took over about four years ago, the project was first proposed about 20 years ago.
After $15 million in state, county and city funding, Friedland says the building is expected to be completed by summer 2017, with housing applications opening in February 2017.
Applications will be available on SAHA’s website, as well as at various local public libraries and community organizations.
Of the project’s impact, Friedland was quick to highlight it as a solution, for a change.
"We are constantly surrounded by all the bad news," she said. "Rapidly rising rents, displacement in historically diverse low-income neighborhoods, gentrification pressures ... so it's really more important now than ever that we find solutions by creating affordable housing opportunities in buildings like this."
Friedland was joined by Mayor Tom Bates and several City Council members and funders speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony last week.