S.S.F. shows off affordable-housing complex

One of the largest affordable-housing projects in South San Francisco celebrated its grand opening Wednesday.

The teal 43-unit, three-story complex on Oak Avenue now houses families, seniors, and disabled residents who earn 20 to 45 percent of area median income.

Most of the units in Grand Oak Apartments are town homes and range from a monthly rent of $385 for a one bedroom to $1,200 for a three bedroom. The development, created on a vacant lot owned by San Mateo County, was a joint effort by the city, county and the BRIDGE Housing Corporation.

The project is among a dozen affordable-housing developments in the city and is geared toward working families such as that of Teresa Benavides, a single parent raising three children.

After sustaining an injury that temporarily put her out of work, Benavides had to spend two years living out of her relatives’ garage before settling into a three-bedroom unit at the Grand Oak Apartments.

“Finding housing here made me ecstatic,” says Benavides, who was chosen through a lottery and an interview process out of almost 400 applicants. “Now, we’re doing OK.”

Her next-door neighbor is Michael Perry, a disabled long-time South San Franciscan who has lived with his mother for 45 years. “I’ve been looking for affordable housing for three years,” said Perry, a stay-at-home artist. “I’m so glad I found this. It’s great to know that there are people who care about the disabled.”

The idea to build Grand Oak Apartments was proposed four years ago and the project was completed this August.

“We’re very proud to have this unit in South San Francisco,” said South San Francisco Mayor Richard Garbarino. “It’s the American dream to rent or purchase a place of your own. I’d like to see more of these in the future.”

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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