With $8.5 million in funding from the city of Santa Ana, AMCAL Multi-Housing, Inc. has completed the construction of First Street Apartments — a 69-unit high-quality affordable apartment community developed in partnership with the City of Santa Ana.
To make this project possible, the Santa Ana City Council approved a loan for $8.5 million in affordable housing funds. Combined with low-income housing tax credits, construction of the project was able to begin in April 2018 with the demolition of an older, deteriorating office building. The project was completed and the new tenants moved in by late last year.
First Street Apartments is part of a revitalization effort to develop residential uses along the First Street corridor — a key gateway for the City of Santa Ana. The development is located at 1440 E. First St., which is adjacent to a public school, a quarter mile from an OCTA bus stop, within a half mile of the Santa Ana Zoo and less than a mile from a Kaiser Permanente hospital.
“The lack of affordable housing is a growing crisis in Orange County and throughout California,” said Councilmember Vicente Sarmiento, who represents Ward 1 where the project is located. “By investing in development that supports the needs of working families, the City of Santa Ana is planning for a future in which everyone has a place to call home.”
The new apartment community was constructed on approximately 2.16 acres and has apartments ranging in size from 782 to 1,219 square feet, with two-, three- and four-bedroom units for larger families, which are rare and needed in Santa Ana. Rents range from $741 for a two-bedroom apartment to $1,984 for a four-bedroom apartment. Half of the units are reserved for extremely low-income households earning 30% of the Area Median Income.
“First Street Apartments will improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable members in our community while revitalizing a major corridor into the city,” Mayor Pro Tem Juan Villegas said.
Councilmember David Penaloza added: “First Street Apartments serves as a testament to Santa Ana’s commitment to provide quality affordable housing for local families.”
Residents in the project were chosen through a lottery process that had over 1,100 applications. The deadline to apply has passed and the building is fully occupied.
“Before living at First Street Apartments, I found myself struggling financially to pay rent,” said Diana Huaynate, 32, who has three sons. “I was living paycheck to paycheck, even sometimes that was not enough.”
Ms. Huaynate, who was born and raised in Sana Ana, said she’s seen the city’s rent prices skyrocket.
“I am happy and blessed to be a resident at First Street Apartments,” she said. “Not only is the rent manageable, but it offered me and my kids a space of our own; the property is so nice, it has its own park, laundry facilities, bike storage for my sons’ bikes, and they offer social services and lots more amenities that you wouldn’t have unless you paid a lot in rent.”
First Street Apartment is unique in that it will serve large families with contemporary living features that include balconies and patios, parking garages, and modern bathrooms and kitchens. The outdoor community features include an open courtyard with seating areas for residents, a barbeque area, a tot lot for children to play and a community garden.
The community consists of six residential buildings and a community laundry facility. Residents have access to a community room and a computer lab that provides space for educational and social services for residents. Social services include adult education and health services such as computer training, job training, English-as-a-second language classes, nutrition programs and parenting classes.