With the Turning the Key initiative, Father Joe’s Villages is helping individuals in need off the streets for good. Through affordable housing, neighbors who are homeless can get the support they need to gain lasting independence.

At its core, San Diego’s homelessness crisis is a housing crisis.

Home in hands illustration

Solving San Diego’s housing crisis will help thousands of our homeless neighbors off the streets.

At Father Joe’s Villages, we believe that everyone deserves a safe place to call home. With San Diego’s record-breaking rent prices and the nation’s lowest vacancy rate, affordable housing is the largest barrier to solving homelessness in our city.

That is why Father Joe’s Villages plans to bring more housing to San Diego through our Turning the Key initiative. By breathing new life into unused lots and overlooked buildings, Father Joe’s Villages has committed to adding 2,000 units of affordable housing dedicated to people overcoming homelessness.

Furthermore, Father Joe’s Villages will provide comprehensive supportive services to ensure that people have the tools they need to stay housed. Through these services, we can help people get back on their feet and achieve lasting housing stability. Father Joe’s Villages’ data shows that 97% of people who enter our supportive housing programs remain permanently housed.


The Problem

Did you know that half of all San Diego homeowners don’t make enough money to meet the region’s cost of living, with 60% of local renters falling short thousands of dollars per year?

According to HUD, an affordable rent for a low-income family would be about $1,500 per month, but the average rent in San Diego is $2,228. Affordable homeownership costs for a low-income family according to HUD would be a home priced under $225,000, but the average home in San Diego costs $600,000.

When there’s so little remaining in the monthly budget, it’s impossible to save money for the future. This means that life events such as job loss, death in the family or health issues are more likely to result in homelessness.

According to the Regional Task Force on the Homeless Point-in-Time Count in 2019, over 8,100 people are experiencing homelessness on any given night in San Diego – over half of these individuals are without shelter.


A Foundation for Change

This month, Father Joe’s Villages held two groundbreaking ceremonies to honor the first of their Turning the Key projects – Benson Place and St. Teresa of Calcutta Villa. These projects will provide the necessary housing – the component that our region’s homeless services infrastructure needs most – to move people from the streets into their own homes. When complete, Father Joe’s Villages Turning the Key will add 2,000 units of affordable housing dedicated to more than 2,500 seniors, veterans, families, transition-age youth and people with disabilities who are overcoming homelessness.


Benson Place, a vacant E-Z 8 Motel, will be remodeled into 82 units of affordable housing.

Benson Place

Located in the South Bay area, Benson Place is the first project in Father Joe’s Villages’ Turning the Key initiative. Originally an old E-Z 8 Motel, Father Joe’s Villages will remodel the now vacant building into 82 housing units for people experiencing homelessness.

Scheduled to open in mid-2020, this affordable housing project will house 82-100 people. Residents living in Benson Place will have the powerful combination of affordable housing and supportive services needed to help them maintain housing long-term.


St. Teresa of Calcutta Villa

Exterior image of St. Teresa of Calcutta Villa, which is scheduled to open in 2022.

Exterior rendering of St. Teresa of Calcutta Villa which is scheduled to open in 2022.

On January 21st, 2020, Father Joe’s Villages began construction on its latest affordable housing community, St. Teresa of Calcutta Villa, which will provide 407 housing

units for people overcoming homelessness.

This 14-story affordable housing building is the second in Father Joe’s Villages’ Turning the Key plan to

address the affordable housing crisis in San Diego. Situated adjacent to the St. Vincent de Paul Village campus, the complex will house more than 500 residents and offer access to an array of services including integrated behavioral and physical health care, mental health care, addiction treatment and more.


We Hold the Key to Ending Homelessness

Benson Place and St. Teresa of Calcutta Villa join several other Father Joe’s Villages affordable residential buildings:

  • 90-unit Villa Harvey Mandel
  • 52-unit Village Place
  • 136-unit 16th and Market streets building known as SAM
  • 107-unit Commercial and 15th streets building known as C15
  • 24-unit Boulevard Apartments in North Park

In combination with our comprehensive services, Father Joe’s Villages housing programs have helped over 11,000 people move into permanent homes of their own in the last 10 years. We know from decades of experience, that given the right support our homeless neighbors can have a brighter future.