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Join the conversation on the Neighbors Helping Neighbors podcast from Father Joe’s Villages. We discuss our Turning the Key initiative, affordable housing, its costs, challenges, current availability, and how it affects neighbors experiencing homelessness. Co-hosts Maggie Durocher and CEO Deacon Jim are joined by guests Assembly Member Christopher Ward from San Diego’s 78th district and CEO of Arete Development Jodi Rothery. Please subscribe and follow our mission of preventing and ending homelessness, one life at a time.

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Podcast Transcript: Affordable Housing

[Music] hello and welcome back I’m Magie the

host of neighbors helping neighbors our podcast from father Joe’s Villages this is a continuing Series where we explore

homelessness its causes and solutions to the issue our guests include experts and

leaders folks with lived experience and unique perspectives on homelessness if

you’d like to learn more about our mission visit our website at or and follow us on social

media at father Joe’s Villages today we’re diving into our turning the key initiative this is our

effort to build out 2,000 affordable housing units in San Diego to explore

this topic with me we have assembly member Christopher Ward from District 78

jod rri the head of our Development Division our Housing Development Division and with me always is my

co-host president and CEO Deacon Jim welcome welcome thank you absolute honor

to have the three of you here to talk about housing and homelessness so thank you so much for being here it’s good to

be here i’ I’d love to start with introductions and a brief scope of uh

your responsibilities Deacon would you mind kicking it off I’d love to kick it off and first of all let me say the assembled member and I go back how many

years a lot of years at least 2014 to your to your days at in San Diego itself on the city council District 3 is who

and we are in District three our campus right so we had a great relationship um it was always it’s always been a

pleasure to collaborate with you and even now at the state level at the assembly level and so it’s particularly

great gratifying to have you here because you have such a heavy focus on housing and today’s topic is just that

housing because we know that shelters are important and we have a lot of shelters about a thousand shelter BS at father Joe’s Villages that helps in the

immediacy right to to start applying those comprehensive Services which are so important but at the end of the day

what breaks that cycle of homelessness is housing and we don’t have enough of it here in San Diego so as Maggie

mentioned back in 2017 you’ll recall back 2017 we we as an organization said

we would build out 2,000 affordable housing units turning the key initiative is what we call it and so far we’re at

about 500 we had it was going to be through the acquisition and refurbishment of motels and we did that

in the South pay area we have 83 spanking new units in what’s called benenson place of permanent Supportive

Housing and we’ll talk about what that means and what that accomplished and then also St of kakata villa the largest

of its kind actually for our population here in the county of San Diego ever 407 homes that we have 47 homes uh

two-thirds of which are permanent Supportive Housing and it’s been so instrumental taking over 500 people

either taking them off the streets or keeping them from falling onto the streets because we know that if we can prevent that homelessness then it get

it’s a lot easier not only for the people impacted but also less costly for the community as a whole right so that

the that model that St Teresa of Kata is is for us and so we need to do more of

that right and then so we’ll talk today about just how we accomplish that and

it’s not just a matter of placing a person within four walls as we know it’s the comprehensive Services is how 96% of

those who we help into into housing retain their housing long term and that’s what it’s all about so it comes

through our federally qualified Health Center and all the disciplines there the the behavioral health support that

people receive you know on substance use disorder and and men with mental health challenges at dental clinic kids who

have who come to us and they have they’re academically emotionally socially delayed mitigating those

circumstances so they’re not you know the future adults who are homeless that’s an important element as well

employment right another another one of our pillars so very very important with marketable skills comes employment and

income and then self-sufficiency that’s an important element as well and so all these facets come together holistically

in order to keep people off the street so that’s just I always like to run through the array of our services

because it’s it’s not just housing and it’s not just shelter and it’s not just the milon meals that we serve on a

yearly basis it’s really all of it coming together that um makes it work for for individuals so anyway just a

brief overview but I’d like to hear from you assembly member just quickly what you’ve been up to since you’ve been in

the uh in the state legislature and then we’ll we’ll talk to jod as well well Deacon and uh thank you very much for

having me it’s great to be home in San Diego we’re generally up at uh the state capital four days a week Monday to

Thursday so it’s nice to be here doing District work on the weekends always great to reconnect with you you’re right we’ve got a long-lived relationship um

probably preceding my time on San Diego city council as well as I was learning more deeply about the issues I guess I

would want to start at the off uh at the uh outset by just really commending father Joe’s Villages uh for the

comprehensive strategies everything that you laid out there and you’re right on about um you know addressing a lot of

the root causes and this and the uh the multi-prong nature that you have uh to support people who are at risk of

homelessness who have been experiencing homelessness or ultimately need to be housed and you’re keeping them housed

and we uh you know recognize that more than 2,000 individuals a night are in your care On Any Given night because of

uh or or otherwise would be um on our street suffering and uh that this goal that you’ve had that we’ve talked about

since my time on city council through turning the key to you know just own 2,000 more units and and contribute as

many do across our community to the permanent Housing Solutions that we need uh is incredibly commendable so we’re

grateful for that and yes I am in my second term now in the State Assembly uh was elected in 2020 after serving four

years on the San Diego city council where I also focused on homelessness and uh was the chair of our Continuum of

Care the regional task force on the homeless which we serve together with um and to try to make sure that our systems

were updated that we were using best practices that we were coordinating with each other between our nonprofit

Partners the city and the county and others uh and really maximizing our efforts to reduce and permanently eliminate

homelessness for many individuals we know the root causes are economic and that you know far too many people are

one paycheck away uh from being evicted and kicked out and ending up on the streets um and so to stop that inflow

having diversion and prevention programs is Key to Our community’s Success but dealing with those that are chronically

homeless and the complexities that they need uh address to be able to stabilize themselves first and then ultimately

have the support that they uh individually need uh to maintain stability throughout the rest of their

lifetime uh Dignity of Lifetime uh is absolutely critical and and and and we’re key Partners in a lot of that in

my uh time in the assembly I’m pleased this year to be appointed chair of the assembly housing committee and pair with

that I’m a member of the budget subcommittee on state Administration that oversees a lot of our uh housing

and homelessness programs um that are currently under debate right now and will be until mid June when we have to

make some final decisions on the state’s budget I come to this conversation you know

alarmed and really uh distressed about um the uh Affairs that we have to deal

with we do need to have a balanced budget and we have reduced revenues that we have to make some hard decisions on this year um but cutting programs that

are effective at supporting a lot of the new developments that we must have in our community is just a nonstarter for

me and retaining and continuing to build on the increase of support that we’ve been able to give to local communities

to address homelessness through services and through uh importantly the staff that’s out there doing the hard work um

that’s critical to sustain and and not regress right oders tell us this is the number one issue they want us to tackle

and so I want to make sure that our budget priorities align with that as well good good wonderful thank you thank you thank you

Jody what you what have you been up to well it’s such a pleasure to be here

and thank you so much for inviting me to be part of this discussion my name is Jody rothy I’m the CEO of R development

and we were the in-house developer uh dedicated to Bringing Deacon Jim’s vision of 2,000 new homes to fruition

and you know our relationship goes back to really 2017 when we started working on both Benson and St Teresa Kolkata

Villa almost five more than five years ago um and it was really through that

time working on that project where I really had a better understanding of the

challenges that your organization faces on a daily basis and for me it became more than about just putting housing out

there putting new units I really started to understand the comprehens of nature of everything that goes into taking

somebody that’s been on the street for any period of the time and being able to place them back into housing and make

that a successful transition and I think that’s why five years later we’re now working together on you know broader

efforts of trying to tackle these 2,000 units and we’re really excited to be be a part of that vision and to be able to

play our part in bringing these units to FR your team impresses me for many reasons one is their their passion for

the mission they’re good in their respective field um of Housing Development it but they just love the

mission father Joe’s Villages and that makes a difference and I see that how how um how impactful it is because

they’re going out there trying to bring it all together and I appreciate that yeah they sure do we’re lucky to have

you right Deacon let’s talk about housing why is it fundamental and how

does it play a crucial role in ending homelessness as I mentioned before that’s what breaks the cycle of

homelessness I mean shelters are important but they’re stop Gap and so having a place that you can call your

own that’s what makes the difference and then then you can start working on all these El other elements I mentioned we

have at St thees of cata we have 2third 270 of those homes the in which the

residents are have some level of disability that’s permanent support of housing they have it could be physical

could be substance use disorder it could be he mental health challenges right when you have a place where you can

really then be helped through case management through Behavioral Health Specialists and and not have to return

to the streets but have the safety of a home um it’s what makes it all come

together otherwise it’s just this Vicious Circle right so so that’s why housing is so important it it’s it’s

important for for health purposes right I mean it’s it’s it’s brutal to work to live on the streets especially

chronically so it really makes you sick scker and sicker those individuals who haven’t had health issues when they fall

into homelessness will develop one thing or another through malnutrition they will wind up having um diabetes or high

blood pressure they will may maybe struggle with mental health challenges a lot of people sooth themselves through

use of substances right and and those are all not good so it’s better that we

prevent people from falling into homelessness right so that we could we could um lessen the impact the negative

impact on them and also the negative impact financially on the on the community as a whole so at the end of

the day housing is extremely crucial and what assembly men is the

state of housing right now in in California it’s dire and it has been for some time it’s Decades of inaction that

have not been meeting our housing goals that are putting pressures on um everybody on the socioeconomic Spectrum

we’ve not been developing enough low-income housing and being able to have those units available or uh I think

achieving enough federal subsidy and support for the voucher that are necessary to um help those with challenges and disabilities actually

afford to be in those apartments we have not been producing enough middle income housing for our Workforce right and so

more and more families are having to spend more and more of their paycheck to pay the rent and that’s reducing a

quality of life and you know the possibilities for their enjoyment and successes and and future um and then you

know uh even um our our upper level uh income housing has gotten exceedingly

expensive the average cost of a home in the entire state right now today uh for purchase is $820,000

um and you think you know if you’ve got a really good paying job if you could get a six figure paying job you know

even that’s not going to cut it on your ability to be able to meaningfully um afford and make payment on a house like

that so we have a real imbalance right now on the cost of housing there’s a lot of drivers of that and we’re working on

those kind of in multi-pronged fashion uh but it’s Decades of inaction and and disinvestment um that have led us to the

real crisis that we have today are you seeing any specific issues to San Diego

or are these overall in the State uh San Diego is probably heightened even greater than overall in the state we

have naturally higher cost of living here uh higher um uh values of of land

and of of construction um so it can be a little modestly uh more uh cheaper to be

able to build or to live in the Inland Empire or the Central Valley um but even

um you know after CO as people have kind of shuffled around a little bit areas like Sacramento that I go to work in uh

used to be very affordable for a middle- inome uh family and now uh a lot of uh

inflow from the Bay Area has pushed those prices uh radically high and consequentially uh your lower income

units have become more expensive and homelessness numbers have risen right

and to your point the economics it’s the economics that cause people to fall onto the streets I mean we know that the

average rent here is about $2,500 I mean think about that the rental vacancy is

is about 3 and a half% there about so no sooner there’s an apartment come on the market it gets scooped up and not by our

population I mean it’s beyond their means and so it’s the economics of it all I mean we’ve seen even with the

rising inflation that you know the higher cost of gasoline or eggs or milk

people have just been hanging on by their fingernails now it’s throwing them on to the the streets so you’re

absolutely right on this the economics I mean people are surprised to hear that they think oh substance use disorder

it’s mental health challenges and those certainly are at place to to a degree and they exacerbate the situation but

really the number one cause and we’ve known this for years and years right it’s the economics well and it’s

baffling too because and you talk to everybody I certainly entertain a lot of community conversations and that’s what

you see or those are the ones that maybe most offend your eyes and your ears as you’re about in your community and you’re frustrated right and so whether

um a chicken or egg issue right oh well did that you know substance use uh a choice or did that um mental health uh

issue cause their homeless or was it a consequence of that you were spot on to say you know people that do

fall onto the streets never get a decent night’s sleep and I can’t imagine as lucky and fortunate I am if I never got

a decent night’s sleep if I was getting three or four hours of rough sleep every night that I would be well um and then

you complicate that with just you know how your immune system is shot your body gets depressed people have to visit the

emergency room uh over and over again and the coping me mechanism of uh needing to um or or choosing to use

substance use um you know one um uh expert you know just enlightened me it

went off and they said you know methamphetamine being the choice of of most people who do use drugs and by the way it’s only about onethird of the

population who are homeless uh acknowledge a chronic use of of substances um but methamphetamine keeps

you awake keeps you alert prevents you from being a costed in the middle of the night um and so it’s not just a coping

mm it’s a defense mechanism and you get stuck of course very addictive um so we

would do right as a society to realize that you need to tackle these things on the front end you need to support things

that are going to reduce the population falling into homelessness and we need to build more housing to house all those

who and and and because we have delayed and we have not been acting and things have gotten as complex as they have yes

we need to invest in Social Services they’re going to help people maintain stability and even further to that it’s

not just building more housing because what I’ve seen in my time working with with Father Joe’s Villages is that what

I realized is individuals once they’ve been um you know removed from a home or

they’ve lost their housing through whatever mechanism and for whatever period of time they find themselves in a

situation where even if they got themselves back on their feet and they had an income or they have family that’s

helping them it’s almost impossible to get back into a home at this point you’ve got bad credit you’ve lost your

rental history you know series of things and right now the market is so competitive as it is

especially on the affordable housing end it’s almost impossible even for those that want to do the right thing to be

able to get the their foot back in the door to housing so the projects that are providing that permanent support of

housing that really is that transition to allow those people from the streets

to have a home in a situation where they can qualify get help get stabilized that

chance that they need a Lifeline literally for so many of the people we serve yeah that’s an excellent point the

other point that I point out too is that you know those I mean we can think of many examples um of people who are

housed uh who have a mental health challenge right uh or substance use or

substance use right you don’t see that on the streets when you’re driving around right but it exists all around us

and those need that needs to be addressed as well right right they just happen to be housed and you know maybe

they have a good retirement security plan and so they’re not going to fall into homelessness Network or right

that’s exactly right and that’s that’s that’s going to be a topic on another podcast by the way but that’s how important it is we going to spend a

podcast just to talk about that right and and the impact that that’s happening you’re you’re mentioning the Greater

Community right and then down if you filter it down to the population we serve those who are homeless right

because they’re not and there not enough detox beds out there in the county as a whole we have 77 detox beds right in the

entire County for the general population right so anyway I don’t want to go off on that tangent because that’s going to be topic on its own right and a very

important topic also Jody you mentioned the competitiveness and the vacancy rate I want to go into those barriers Deacon

first if you could tell us about barriers to accessing homel or accessing housing rather and then Jody if you

could touch on some barriers in the construction and development Arena sure sure I think the Jody just touched upon

some of those those those those obstacles in a sense right if you you been on the streets for a while and

you’ve amassed any tickets as an example as a result of being on the streets loitering as an example um if you have a

bad credit history as a result of being on the streets right if you’ve had evictions in the past right your

employment situation keeps you from from being able to access those these are all barriers to being able to access housing

the individuals who are on the streets I mean what strikes me is their resilience I mean if you think about how hard it is

to be on the street right it they are very resilient and very res sourceful individuals I mean these are all and

these are all barriers that I’ve just mentioned and there’s so many more it keeps them keeps us as an example or

makes it more challenging for us to be able to help individuals in into into housing and yet we do it it’s timec

consuming it’s very honorous but we do it right and and we and they do it I mean it’s incredible right and we

provide the resources and it’s incredible to how they you know they they they move ahead we have great

relationships with landlords and that’s an important element because with with that relationship with the landlords

they’re willing to take our clients they’re willing to take risks right even though the bad credit history is there

even though they may maybe there’s a the police record or whatever that is right and because they know that if something

happens then you know they can come to us and they help us out with this now we have a tenant this it’s problem and and

we’re there I mean we just don’t walk away and that’s an important element as well it’s having it’s increasing the

number of landlords who are willing to rent to our population so yes we are building housing right and then that’s a

great thing and we need to continue doing that but also our landlord relationships are important

elements yeah you know in terms of the construction development as assembly

member Ward mentioned housing throughout the state is challenged prices are high

construction costs are high land costs are high so of course trying to build affordable housing we are presented with

all the same challenges that the market rate developers are are faced with but in addition to that at you know finding

the financing you know bringing together enough financing to make these deals happen that’s very complex here in the

state of California the sources that are available for affordable housing and particularly permanent Supportive

Housing are highly competitive you know three to one in terms of what they can

actually um you know actually fund um and so it’s it’s very challenging so so

no matter how good of a project you have have location underwriting you’ve got

the tenant population you’ve got the service provider and everything you don’t know if it’s going to take one

year or three years or or longer to get the financing necessary to move that project forward because everybody’s

competing for the same dollars on top of that it’s a very complex regulatory environment every one of these financing

sources every agency that we partner with all have their own list of regulations that directly impact not

only our ability to execute the project the cost involved in the project then

the long-term ongoing operational aspects of the project because all of them have various um requirements over

the long-term duration of these these projects all those not only make it more complicated but it drives up the cost as

well as just the complexity of being able to operate them I I would say having come from the market rate side

initially and being on the asset Property Management side and then seeing what our property management

professionals have to deal with on on a day-to-day basis uh in affordable housing and specifically again in

permanent support of housing it’s a whole another level of of expertise that they need just to understand all the

various regulatory complexities that we deal with and then on top of that you’ve got the nimbyism you got community

opposition so as we’re going to try to get approvals for projects to bring to

Market you’ve got a lot of people that just don’t understand the problem and whether it’s affordable housing or

permanent Supportive Housing you people have a stigma in their mind of what that means what we’re bringing to these

neighborhoods and they think it’s just going to be drugs and prostitutes essentially is what you’ll hear at Community meetings when you go and try

to present these projects and so changing you know being able to educate

the population being able to help them understand what affordable housing is what permanent support of housing is how

we’re going to help our neighbors rehabilitate themselves so that they can be stable and live a successful

successful life you know it’s it’s a process and it’s going to take time I think there’s there’s a much better

understanding today than five years ago when we were starting to work on St Teresa of calcata villa um because

there’s more visibility to the issue I think more people are impacted in some

way personally now whether it’s just on their way to work or they know somebody whatever it is people have more of a

vested interest but still it’s going to take time to change people’s minds and have them understand and get them bought

into that this is the right thing to do mhm are these barriers consistent with what you’re seeing in your District

absolutely and in the conversations at the state capital as well consistently I think to Joy’s point we had you know a

lot of conversation around things maybe slightly out of our control what do you do when you have high land costs High

development costs the materials uh labor to support those who are working on these projects um the financing and a

lot of the soft cost that goes into it and really you have to lay the entire profor on the table to understand where

are the opportunities to get at start to change the landscape so that we can start to get things more affordable in

the production how do we stretch limited dollars further to produce more units and so some of that comes in production

related questions we’ve had a number of successful legislation uh bills that have gotten to the governor’s desk and

sign for example that are going to allow faith-based institutions and nonprofit colleges sp4 that opens up 170,000 of

new Acres of generally public lands or or or land in uh in nonprofit ownership

um that’s going to be able to provide for more affordable housing opportunities one of those were aware uh

recently just celebrated a groundbreaking in our community in bario Logan and they’re looking at maybe $290,000 per unit which is unheard of um

but that’s the kind of project that is possible to have you know I think on that case another 28 uh units of uh of

formally homeless housing um we are uh working on uh efforts to be able to

support additional um production additional capacity work on the barriers that we hear around the environment

quality act that are potentially unnecessary you have to review everything and say is this really

necessary or do we need to change the status quo without letting go of some Safeguard right nobody wants

environmental degradation everybody wants an opportunity to be informed about a project and have some local say

and what goes into it and they want the solutions um but we can’t let that be the barrier that’s going to kill

projects that are on the net hole going to be a really big part of our solution making here um I listen closely to those

who are in the business of developing affordable housing and it’s comp it’s complicated it can take 5 years on a

good project to actually go from concept to groundbreaking it’s unacceptable and a lot of that is rooted in the time it

takes to iter iteratively go through all of the applications and all of the successes and if any one of those fails

everything falls apart the risk that has to be undertaken and then of course the insurance that comes into backfill a lot

of that risk right everything compounds on itself that makes it very very difficult to get a project through so we

have been working with the administration and the treasurer’s office and others that are responsible

for a lot of the different state funded programs a lot of the tax credits that are out there to help simplify things

when you simplify it when you get everybody at the table thinking about one project or one decision you can

reduce the time it takes to be able to make that decision that reduces the risk and ultimately helps the project uh

pencil out a little bit sooner that’s an excellent point and I’m glad to hear it by the way because we experienced it at

St teres of Kata it BS in place as well but to to your point from conception to

ribbon cutting not not um breaking ground but ribbon cutting it was five years it took three years to get to the

groundbreaking right and and people in the business would say to me Deacon only three years this is really great and it

was killing me right because in the process I knew there were people on the street suffering and we needed to help

them right so and it’s so I’m glad to hear that you’re looking at the funding sources and with an eye towards

streamlining it because that’s so very very important not only at the state level but then locally we need to do the

same here at at the local municipalities the city and the in the count as well and so that’s a tax credit I mean as you

mentioned I mean that’s an important element they utilize tremendously it’s very honorous right so and it’s on the

chopping block this year and we have to fight against that because it works and we can show project after project you

know what’s accomplished in California because of that that that that benefit that’s there but I want to come back to as well the community opposition that

you talking about of course I hear loud and clear about that it’s because though of our persistence and the good work

that’s been done to be able to produce a lot of these projects talm gateways uh

you know your projects downtown recently home key projects that have been converting hotels uh into new homes with

Support Services on site all of those came with Community objection and a lot of town hall meetings um where you

thought the worst that you thought that you know this was what you were going to be bringing into the community and you

would um do your best to assure that this would not be the case that there were going to be all these extra layers

of security and support and everything on site and eventually the project would get built and people would be housed and

everything would be fine you would establish a community advisory council with neighbors invited to be a part of

that who were meeting regularly to monitor how it was going and eventually those would fizzle out people would stop

coming because nothing was a problem right people were stably housed there was no Community impact

and so what I’m seeing and what we should celebrate and continue to put out there are the very specific examples in

all of our communities that are showing success because if there is an objection on the next project you can say go to

Talmage go to Mission Valley go to bario Lan you can see for yourself and you

know it’s it’s going to be uh it’s going to be fine and it’s going to be helpful right not that it isn’t a challenge

because it is a challenge especially when when you’re working with individuals who have been the street on the street chronically those who are

residing within those psh units right the permanent Supportive Housing units that’s where the case managers come in and the support of property management

and so forth it is a challenge so it’s not to to negate that but we have programs in place that that accomplish

what you just described assembly member you know the other aspect be other than funding which can be honorous is the

permitting process that’s in the entitlement process that’s extremely an extremely important element as well and

again it just you know we bogged down on it and applications you know time and time

again right and Jody SMY because she lives this each and every single day and so that and just working through that

process that’s that’s an important aspect as well that we that we continue to work through that process with an i towards streamlining it so that we can

get these units up and running sooner rather than later Jody could you comment on the collaboration between Father

Joe’s Villages other community organizations government agencies stakeholders and how they come together

to implement and sustain projects like turning the key certainly I mean turning

the key initiative is very ambitious Endeavor and certainly uh extensive

collaboration goes into um bringing the organizations together to to make this

happen and that really starts from even the time that we’re sourcing land for a

new deal I mean we get fortunate when we have patient sellers that are bought into the vision of father Jo they

understand what they’re doing and that helps us to be able to have have have

land under contract for long enough so that we can actually get the financing necessary to move projects forward we

rely on our Partnerships with the local agencies really local state and federal governments for our financing that’s

where that most of the majority of the financing comes for that and and so we’ve got to have strong relationships

with those agencies and entities for the vouchers for the tax credits for the subsidy funding that’s that’s

necessary um you know in in regards to um also just uh you know the the

philanthropy that goes into these projects you know bringing bringing the community into um help support not only

the efforts is is huge not only just The Upfront construction but the ongoing

operational stability of the projects as well so it definitely takes a village to put

these projects together really at at every stage of what we do like I said from Acquisitions to financing even

during the development construction process you you just mentioned um Jody you mentioned the ongoing budgeting

right an expense to to these to these facilities one thing as some of the member I want to want to uh raise is

insurance and I’m sure you’ve heard this right um and this is not just father Joe’s Villages but across the board

we’re experienced the increases in these insurances are astronomical just was having a conversation earlier this today

with my CFO and basically he was telling me Deacon we’re we budgeted X and now

we’re hearing that we we’re going to have to pay four times x four to five

times x what we thought um for our insurance in this coming next premium year which is not budgeted right because

it’s it’s a phenomenon that’s been that’s been coming up now and it’s only expected to get worse this is a big deal

a big deal not just for father Joe’s Villages because obviously these the each one of these um LPS or these

facilities that we put into play need to pencil out right they they can’t be running in the red obviously and so when

you when you have these increased Insurance costs it really is detrimental and more so my concern is that if if we

don’t get our arms around this as a community and as a state the state won’t be able to meet its goals on on the the

deployment of affordable housing units because you we’ll have develop developers pulling out and saying this

is this is not sustainable we can’t do this right so I don’t know what your thoughts are on that but that’s a that’s

really we need we need some eyes on this yeah there’s a lot of reasons why particularly on property insurance although Insurance across the board is

about auto insurance person and uh uh business insurance um and so what that’s

been um clearly observed over the last 12 months and there was a lot of work done before our recess last fall uh to

try to put together some package that one would provide some stability to the insurance Market it’s very unstable

right now uh whole Insurance uh insurers are just pulling out of the state alog together not renewing new policy how do

you buy a home or how do you go onto a mortgage if you can’t even get insurance on on top of that um and then you see uh

existing policies as you said four times or sometimes if you’re an HOA that lives in in suburban area more prone to

Wildfire 10 times or more what you were paying before is a shock to the system but it’s a consequence of a lot of

things that have just gently been held together that um now the the straw is breaking the campell’s back so there are

some solutions that will help to um meet some of the market challenges that are

driving what we’ve seen over the last 12 months um I can’t say that’s going to come back down to rates that we’ve

always known uh in years prior but at least if we can bring stability so we can just plan for and build in uh what

it’s going to look like going forward right now so we won’t see continued as astronomical rise in Insurance prices

those are the goals of what our insurance commissioner and some of our legislative colleagues are working on I’m glad that’s the case anything that

we could do to be a voice or let us know because this is this is an important element it absolutely is and not only is

the premium going up but then we’re finding that the levels of insurance not only so they’re making the deductible so

high that you scratch your head and say why am I having insurance I’m never there there isn’t a catastrophe that

will reach those levels right and yet you can’t be without insurance and so it’s it’s it’s a it’s really it’s a it’s

a difficult situation I’m glad that the commissioner um is at the state level’s Insurance Commissioners is um sure or

your coverage is going down and like even if an event happened on your property you wouldn’t fully recoup or be

able to you would hit a limit and so it’s like well why would I even sign up for that Papa you have to have a policy

right but sometimes that’s all that’s left and it’s available and it’s just it’s not fair right yeah and on top of the pricing for the for the policy I was

recently involved with a project that was getting ready to come on to the market that needed to place a permanent

insurance policy and we went out to 45 carriers and one carrier agreed to

provide a pricing indication the rest declined and they they stated they declined because of the the tenant

population portable housing with permanent Supportive Housing and they just chose not to decline they declined

the coverage so um it’s and um in addition to that that in that case it

was 10 times the cost that had been budgeted prior to start of construction by the time that they came onto market

and and are placing the actual insurance right so right I mean most budgets could

never withstand that type that’s exactly I’d like to just actually because I tried to get more and more educated

about this too also underscore for listeners that um you think sometimes these are Big insurance companies and they’re making all these decisions and

they’re really holding us to it most of the insur most of the most of those we engage with that are trying to get us a good policy are um small business owners

that are out there on the front lines really connecting the dots for you and what I’m hearing from them they reside in my community they work in my

community is the reinsurance market right you know sort of the the insurers of insurance policies that are up there

are also driving this and so that’s a California wide phenomenon um uh uh uh

funds that you know come out of Wall Street right that really hold keep the stable keep the the entire system stable

um that is also compressing a lot of the cost down that that’s making it very difficult to find a policy that matches

your family’s budget or your Project’s budget that’s correct that’s correct Jody can you speak to any of the strategies that were used to create a

financially viable Housing Development while still meeting the needs of our lower inome individuals that we’re

serving boy really a lot of creative financing in fact in our St TR of

Kolkata Villa one of the reasons it took so long was because we had to pull together so many financing sources and

in that one we I mean we we thought we were being ingenious having to couple together 14 sources of financing in

order to bring that project to fruition now at the same time that has really

provided us the opportunity of a lot of lessons learned on that project both in terms of just the types of financing

sources for the tenant population I mean one of the things that we’re finding is certain sources of funding although they

may be easy to easier to access could be detrimental operationally over the long

term just due to some of those complex regulatory requirements and things like that so being more mindful of that upfront being more mindful of what

sources we can pull together we really have to look at other opportunities to

uh leverage other permitted projects there’s a lot of market rate projects that may not be moving forward right now

what can we do to leverage work that’s already been done so that we can start Midway in the process versus having to

start from the beginning and and Shrink that timeline we’re looking at strategies to help try to manage

construction costs as best as possible one in terms of how the buildings are

designed but also just how they’re architect and engineered leveraging technology and ways to help reduce costs

during construction be able to be more concrete with costs earlier in the

project so we don’t have as many unknowns and uncertainties and then just really

trying to think outside of the box whether it’s on on the development side

or particularly in the financing side what other types of non-traditional financing can we leverage that will

allow these projects to go forward so we don’t have to be reliant on all these State local and federal resources and

we’re starting to have some breakthroughs there that are making projects feasible that otherwise may be

years down the road like St Teresa in order to bring to Market so um it it’s a

challenge but it’s really what we do every day and it’s one of the things I love you know I love that piece of the

puzzle is is strategizing about how do we do something that seems to be impossible is there anything you can

share specifically about building housing for our population anything you’ve learned about Community spaces or

you know really tailoring it to meeting their needs absolutely and that’s something that’s always been important

to me in my real estate career is really focusing on our client the end user and

I think that stemmed from my initial time really on on the residential services side when I was meeting with

clients and touring prospective individuals who are home and really listening to what they wanted and it’s

even more critical here because we have these specialty populations and so whether it’s really understanding the

challenges that some of the residents have from you know physical disabilities things like that how can we make sure

that we are you know Meeting those physical needs of the residents but also Community spaces laundry rooms I mean

the the resident and population sometimes use these facilities differently than we would think about if we were designing a market rate

community and thinking about Safety and Security in the building that’s something that normally even in a a

typical just affordable project you wouldn’t think of as much as you do when we’re dealing with permanent Supportive

Housing population how are we making sure that our Terraces are safe for individuals that you know may all of a

sudden have a challenge whether that be physical or mental or somewhere how are we make sure that they’re safe um how do

we secure our our um employees within the building when they’re dealing with

residents whether it’s in their office office space how do we make sure there’s enough security and visibility in all of

the spaces even so much so physically with with the structure making sure we’re not creating areas within the

building where people can be hiding where nefarious activities can happen things like that so there’s a lot that

goes into that and we’ we’ve learned a lot and one of the things that we do is we leverage the knowledge of those on

the ground that are dealing with residents having meetings constantly with them to walk through the space walk

through the plans you know does this make sense are there tweaks that could help better um you know the product that

we bring to Market down the road and so every every project we’re able to leverage those Lessons Learned and make

those tweaks and we’re trying to now create a kind of a catalog of best

practices that we can roll out forward exactly and St ter of kakata villa is a

perfect example of that a lot of that design work went into it which so the end result has been a good one and yet

even there we’ve learned right and we’ll take that into consideration for the going forward there are a lot of Health and Wellness spaces there we have

Gardens outside a number of Gardens and outdoor spaces of course a fitness center as well because that’s an important element and building a sense

of community you mentioned the community spaces these this is their home right so building this sense of community is an

important aspect of this as this as well because a lot of them have been on the streets chronically the reality is you have to

relearn to live within four walls to have neighbors right and it’s it’s very different it’s very different I love to

always bring it back to as you say those that we are blessed to serve so do you have any success stories that you can

share about how turning the key has impacted someone’s life oh my gosh Maggie knows I I love I live for these

success stories because truly it’s it just drives us home that this is so important what we’re doing it really is

for all of us right and so I I’m going to point to one I can point to more but I’ll point to one and and this

was early on I remember when we were giving construction tours I love giving those hard hat tours right and I was we

were waiting outside for a group that was going to join us outside the building and um and at that point we had

masks on because it was during Co right so we had mask on and uh this young man approached with his little girl his

seven-year-old girl and so I have have I told you this story you remember this one yeah oh you were there you’re right

oh because you spoke at the groundbreaking St that’s right AB abely right we had him speak at the at the ren

cting I should say and um he looked at me and he didn’t know who I was and he said he said do you know anything about

this building so I I smiled through my mask and I said I did and and um and

asked him who he was he said he had this paper in hand and he said um that he just been approved for the building and

then we got to talk and he tells me that he was so happy you see how elated he was that because he was able to give a

home to his little girl they had been falling on Hard Times wound up in their car then wound up on the streets as I

spoke to Joseph that’s his name by the way then I got to speak to his little girl Abigail and um learned about him

veteran right really well spoken veteran again had fallen into Hard Times single

dad and um just wanted a place for his little girl you fast forward and you

know when I run into him in the building and the building now has been there for for two years and he’s resided there and

he always comes over to tell me how thankful how grateful he is and I asked him about Abigail she’s getting so so

tall at this point and he tells me how she’s thriving in school how can you do that living out of a car or living on

the street your child cannot thrive in school right and then they’re suffering from so many other things and so oh

Joseph and Abigail will stay with me for forever but you just reminded me the ass member we had him speak and did he not

speak so eloquently at the at the ribbon cutting yep and represents you know hundreds like him that’s that’s exactly

right there wasn’t you could hear a pin drop I remember and and I don’t think there was a dry eye the people were cry

because they were they were just so impacted by hearing him speak I live for the Joseph and abigailes of the world

that’s what it’s all about and and this year this at the end of this year to the beginning of next year we hope God

willing to be breaking ground on three new buildings right each having about

100 you homes and that’s again going to help people to either get off the streets or stay off the streets and

that’s what it’s all about and I can’t with each and every single one can’t wait right and that’ll be the

groundbreaking like I said there’s a lot to be done between now and then and then hopefully construction uh construction

for between 18 and 24 months and then have those those ribbon cuttings there as well and have more of the Joseph and

Abigail’s others who are out there also speak uh and and in testimony as to how impactful this is for

them before we end the show uh assembly man can you please tell the community what they can do to bolster more

initiatives like this and push for more affordable housing in general well I’ll be pointed and say you could always uh

sign up to be on Father Joe’s Village’s list and there’s always activation times when a project is coming forward for a

decision or they need support out in a community meeting uh so that people can neighbors can hear neighbor voices about

supporting some of these ideas sometimes um those that get galvanized and show up uh can can really rule the room and uh

it’s important to have you know a more um bigger complement of of San diegans

that um are showing that they do support the good work that that we’re doing here um I would uh you know like I said just

monitor kind of what’s going on and uh if you agree that these are solutions worth supporting as to find ways to to

organize each other and plug themselves in uh so that um we that those that are

trying to pull together the uh the decisionmaking and those that are trying to do the development feel that they

have the community support necessary to to move forward wonderful again an honor

to be with you three thank you so much for your time today and for everything you’re doing in our community M thank

you so much appreciate it Jody as well thank you great conversation thank you and thank you for joining in the

conversation homelessness is a human story and at father Joe’s Villages we’re not only a service provider we’re a

movement and a catalyst for change join us on our next episode as we bring you more issues and more solutions remember

that together we’re neighbors helping neighbors and we can make a difference see you next time how will you get

involved join us and take action for our neighbors in need father Joe’s Villages is rebuilding lives and you can make a

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shopping at our thrift stores or online or participating in planned giving there are numerous ways to get involved take

action today at because together we are all neighbors helping neighbors is