When Governor Gavin Newsom put out a call for more affordable housing development, BRIDGE Housing Corporation answered. In 2021, Newsom signed legislation designed to increase production, streamline permitting and make use of state-owned excess land, while at the same time encouraging developers to incorporate environmentally sustainable practices. BRIDGE’s 440 Arden project is just what the governor asked for.
California cities have some of the nation’s highest housing costs, with median home prices nearly 2.5 times higher than national rates. And even before the COVID-19 pandemic, a third of California renters spent more than 50% of their income on housing. Since then, the pandemic-driven recession has raised rents as well as the cost of home ownership.
To help increase Sacramento’s stock of affordable housing, BRIDGE’s 440 Arden complex will offer 124 permanently affordable housing units. Homes range in size from one- to three-bedrooms for households that make 25-60% of the area median income. Thirty-one units are reserved for individuals and families at risk for homelessness.
“Not having affordable housing creates a lot of people who are stretched and not just at risk for homelessness, but falling into homelessness,” says Jonathan Stern, BRIDGE’s director of planning and acquisitions. “The more affordable housing you have, the fewer people are vying for (market-rate) housing stock, … and that supply-and-demand ever so slightly shifts. The other thing is that people who have permanently affordable housing have more income to spend in the community. … The more money they have that’s not going to a private landlord, the more money goes to local businesses.”
Located on a state-owned site near Sacramento Regional Transit lines, 440 Arden is designed to enable residents to easily get around town via light rail, bus and bicycle. In an effort to cut emissions by promoting mass transit, residents will be offered transit passes and enjoy secure on-site bike storage.
In addition to being conveniently located near mass transit lines, 440 Arden is adjacent to Woodlake Park and near neighborhood schools. Other amenities will include an on-site child care facility, community room and offices for supportive services. All tenants will be able to take part in community programs like after-school homework help and financial literacy workshops. More intensive case management support such as navigating and enrolling in social service benefits is also available through BRIDGE’s partner, Lutheran Social Services.
Sustainability and innovative construction
440 Arden will feature solar energy systems, high-efficiency lighting and appliances, water-efficient landscaping and electric vehicle charging stations. In its construction, builders are using sustainable cross laminated timber—components that are assembled off-site—that decrease construction costs and time.
“We are encouraged to look at methods that are more innovative and sustainable,” Stern says. “I think one of the reasons we were awarded [this project] was because we have a pretty good track record of using these sustainable and innovative construction techniques.”
Stern admits that BRIDGE can’t solve Sacramento’s housing crisis alone. As part of a team effort, BRIDGE is collaborating with several community groups to provide comprehensive support for residents. Partnerships include:
- Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency is providing housing vouchers for extremely low-income renters at risk for homelessness.
- Child Action, Inc. is working with BRIDGE to find a provider for the on-site child care facility.
- The Del Paso Business Partnership is helping to identify a local business to fill the complex’s retail space.
- Lutheran Social Services will provide community programming and case management.
“Lutheran (Social) Services is an agency with which we have a good relationship … and they have a substantial Sacramento presence and expertise,” Stern says. “They will provide both overall services that every resident of the building will be able to access … and more intense supportive services. Anyone in one of our supportive units—at the 25-30% area medium income level—will have a case manager if they need help with applying for social services, disability or health care benefits.”
For more information, visit www.440arden.com