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April 2013 Newsletter

Tour Jasmine Square on April 11

Housing Choices Coalition clients and their parents and support staff are invited to tour an HCC Partner Property, Jasmine Square Apartments, located at 16500 Monterey Road in Morgan Hill, on April 11 at 11 am.  Built and managed by nonprofit developer, South County Housing, Jasmine Square consists of 72 apartments, including one-bedroom, two-bedroom,  and three-bedroom units.  Twelve apartments are designated for rent to people with developmental disabilities and are supported by HCC’s program of resident coordination services.  In encouraging people to tour Jasmine Square and consider joining its wait list, HCC’s Resident Coordinator, Jarhari Smith-Pinheiro, observed:  “Jasmine Square is a very stable and well-managed housing community and offers a good choice of different sized units at affordable rents.”   Register now to tour Jasmine Square on April 11 at 11 a.m. 

New Partner Property Creates Senior Housing

In the latest of a series of successful partnerships with Housing Choices Coalition, First Community Housing (FCH) has designated 10 affordable apartments for seniors with developmental disabilities at its 75-unit senior housing project, Japantown Senior Apartments.  This addition to HCC’s roster of Partner Properties will be constructed on a half-acre infill site in the Japantown neighborhood of San Jose.   When completed in  late 2015, Japantown Senior Apartments will serve people who are 55 years of age or older and who earn between 30% and 60% of the area median income. 

The new building will include five stories of residential units over a first floor comprised of a residential lobby, manager’s office and enclosed parking.  The residential units will include 73 one-bedroom units of approximately 600 square feet each, one studio unit, and a two-bedroom manager’s unit.  Each unit will have a private balcony.  Common spaces will include a community room, lounge, and laundry facility as well as landscaped outdoor gathering areas.

Like all FCH buildings, Japantown Senior Apartments will incorporate a variety of green building features such as low-VOC finishes, energy efficient appliances and lighting, water-conserving fixtures, and low-water use landscaping.  The building is registered for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes Midrise program, and LEED Gold certification is anticipated.  In addition, FCH will annually provide all tenants with a free VTA Eco Pass for unlimited transportation on all buses and light rail lines throughout the county.  The program enables seniors, including people with developmental disabilities, to get along without a car and save up to $700 annually on transit fares. 

HCC will provide its program of Resident Coordination services at the new site for the seniors with developmental disabilities, with funding from San Andreas Regional Center.   Commenting on the need for the new Partner Property, HCC’s Executive Director Jan Stokley observed that “the aging of people with developmental disabilities already living in community housing, as well as those who have remained in their parents’ home well into their forties, are demographic realities pointing to the need for us to partner with senior housing developers.”   She added that “when we talk to older adults with developmental disabilities already living at a Partner Property, many of them express interest in a building dedicated to people age 55 and older for the same reasons as the rest of the population.”

Message from Rick Dill, HCC’s Board Chair  

Housing Choices Coalition welcomes inquiries from HCC residents and clients about serving on HCC's Board of Directors.  HCC's Board of Directors is responsible for HCC's mission and adopts HCC's strategic plan, oversees its finances, and monitors and evaluates the organization's services to the community.  The Board meets every other month, and Board committees meet in the intervening months.  When elected, Board members serve a term of three years.  To learn more about the duties of a Board member, click here to download HCC’s Board member position description. To apply, send your resume and a brief statement of the reasons you want to serve on HCC's Board of Directors to Rick Dill, HCC's Board Chair, by email to rickdill@gmail.com.  Applications received by April 30, 2013 will be considered for a three year term that will begin in July 2013.  If you have any questions, please contact Rick Dill by email. 

Ford Road Nears Completion

As construction on the project neared completion, a lottery held on March 29 randomly ordered the applications of 165 people with developmental disabilities seeking to secure one of 19 affordable apartments at Ford Road Supportive Housing, an HCC Partner Property being constructed by Eden Housing for occupancy in July 2013.  During a six week period in February and March, HCC mailed information about the housing opportunity to more than 1800 Santa Clara County residents on its housing registry, conducted outreach to a number of community partners who serve people with developmental disabilities, and held twelve community workshops to help people decide whether to apply and to assist them in completing Part I of the application by the March 28 deadline.

Alex Bonilla, HCC’s Housing Coordinator for Santa Clara County said, “We expected a lot of interest in this property because the price—30% of the resident’s actual household income—makes it affordable for those depending solely on SSI for their income.”  He added, “When there’s so much need for such a limited resource, it makes a lot of sense to conduct the lottery based on a simpler application.   I am happy we were able to help so many people with developmental disabilities have a shot at living at what promises to be a really wonderful housing community.”

Those applicants who fared well in the lottery must now complete a much more detailed Part II application which documents their income, household composition, rental history, credit, and criminal background.  Alex Bonilla stated, “This stage of the application process—for those who did well in the lottery--requires a lot of documentation and concludes with an interview by Eden Housing.  In my opinion, it’s just as demanding as applying for college or trying to get your first home mortgage!”

 In describing his goal for the Part II application workshops which HCC will hold in April and May, Alex commented:  “I want to level the playing field so that every person who ended up with a good lottery number has a meaningful opportunity to submit a successful application, whether or not they have other people in their lives who can help them assemble what’s needed.”   People who submit all of the components of a complete Part II application will be interviewed in May by Eden Housing, which will verify all of the information submitted by the applicants before approving the final list of tenants.

For more information, contact Alex Bonilla by email to abonilla@housingchoices.com or by telephone (408)284-0992.

HCC’s Garrison Receives NASW Award

The Silicon Valley chapter of the National Association of Social Workers has awarded HCC’s Program Manager, Evelyn Garrison, MSW, the 2013 Harry Lloyd Hopkins Award for achievement in management and program development.  Harry Lloyd Hopkins was a well-known social worker who brought attention to the needs of the less fortunate and began a movement in the United States that led to more understanding and support for those who otherwise would go unheard. 

The award was conferred on Garrison for her work in building HCC’s program of resident support services for people with developmental disabilities living in community housing.  “Developers of HCC’s Partner Properties have been willing to designate units in their affordable housing properties to people with developmental disabilities because of an effective program of resident support which Evelyn has largely been responsible for building.  Evelyn’s work illustrates the role that social workers can play in making civil rights and fair housing a living reality,” commented Jan Stokley, HCC’s Executive Director.  

Upon receiving the award, Garrison stated:  “Although this award was presented to me personally, it’s really a testament to the importance of Housing Choices Coalition and its mission to improve the quality of life of people with developmental disabilities.  HCC has provided me the platform to carry out this mission and be recognized for that work.  And it is only because of the diligent and consistent work of the entire HCC staff and our many community partners that this program has been a success.  I am grateful for the staff’s hard work and for helping me to grow as a Social Worker, but most of all for the great impact we have had on those we serve and our greater community.”

Grass Roots Day 2013 Carries “Remember Me” Campaign to Sacramento

  

On March 6, Housing Choices Coalition clients and staff joined self-advocates and advocates for people with developmental disabilities from across the state to carry a message to the California legislature:  “Remember Me!”   Armed with information and confident of the justness of their cause, HCC’s clients told legislators:   “We deserve compassion, and the decisions you are making do not demonstrate any compassion for us.  You should know what the changes will do to us before you decide to make cuts and changes.  Come see how we live and what we need.  That is what we want from you.”

ARCA, the Association of Regional Center Agencies, which organized Grass Roots Day, educated the participants about some key legislation which will affect people with developmental disabilities:  

·         Senate Bill 579 (Berryhill) Quality Assurance will create a pilot program to streamline licensing requirements still ensuring health and safety, to create a clearer regulatory framework for those who serve individuals with developmental disabilities, to more safely and effectively comply with the many rules and regulations.

·         Senate Bill 111 (Beall) Voter Registration will allow prospective voters with verified signature stamps to use those stamps to register to vote online.

ARCA also supports:

·         The sunset of state reductions imposed on regional center operations, direct services and purchases of services in order to help stabilize a system that has been rocked by successive cuts since 2009. 

·          A one year continuation and analysis of the Annual Family Fee, to review the family fee’s financial benefit, impact on families, and cost of implementation. Trailer bill language would make this program permanent.

·         A comprehensive and sufficiently funded plan to close California’s developmental centers and develop the needed community services to serve all persons with developmental disabilities in the community.

·         The restoration of the Early Start program to its pre-October 2009 state, to allow the program to continue to make profound and life changing improvements to the lives of children in this vulnerable stage.

 

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Jan Stokley,
Apr 3, 2013, 4:51 PM
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