SF turns to modular construction of Mission Bay homeless housing to expedite project

Funding for a Mission Bay affordable housing project that will eventually house 140 formerly homeless residents was approved Tuesday.

The Commission on Community Investment and Infrastructure, the successor body to the defunct Redevelopment Agency, approved an initial $5 million loan and negotiations with Bridge Housing Corporation and Community Housing Partnership for the supportive housing development at Mission Bay South Block 9, adjacent to Police Headquarters on Third Street.

The project will include modular studio units that will be prefabricated off-site, which will reduce the construction schedule by six months and reduce the total project cost from $65.6 million to $60.1 million.

SEE RELATED: Supportive housing proposed for homeless residents on Mission Bay lot

Construction is expected to begin in early 2020 and be completed in early 2021.

Most of the units will be 390 square feet, while 15 percent of them will be 500 square feet. There will be 75 bike parking stations.

The project’s residents will be referred by the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, using a coordinately entry system that prioritizes those who are most in need of housing.

Gail Gilman, chief executive officer of the Community Housing Partnership, said there will be services on site seven days a week from morning to early evening and a staff of certified counselors and licensed technicians. There will be “group activities on site to build community and wellness,” including a recovery group, healthy eating group, mental health group and activities like bingo night, movie night, gardening and one-on-one counseling.

“We anticipate that many of the individuals referred to us will have chronic health conditions, as many do who are in our homeless community,” Gilman said.

Funding for the services will come through Medi-Cal reimbursements and city funding such as a contract with the Department of Homelessness.

Some residents in the area have expressed concerns about the development, and outreach to neighbors is expected to continue.

Peter Cohen, co-director of the San Francisco Council of Community Housing Organizations, said, “The supportive housing model, this is ladders out of homelessness. One of the ways we combat homelessness is to provide homes.”

He argued that with adequate outreach residents will support projects like these throughout The City.

“They know how to win over hearts and minds,” Cohen said of CHP’s outreach staff. “It’s not just bricks and mortar but it’s also changing the perceptions and the experiences of people who live with the end project.”

In the fall, the design of the project will come before the commission for approval. The modular construction company will be selected through a competitive bidding process.

The preliminary design is for three wings in a u-shape. “The building is four stories tall and wraps around a large landscaped courtyard that opens on to the future Bridgeview Way,” an OCII memo said.

The 141 units, which includes one unit for a manager, are part of 868 affordable housing units OCII has planned for Mission Bay South, on top of the 350 already built.

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