Housing Projects: Latest News

Supporting an increase in the housing supply across the Monterey Bay region

In 2016, MBEP launched our housing initiative to support an increase in the supply of all housing at all income levels in the Monterey Bay region. Our initiative starts with a broad, regional coalition of individuals and organizations to advocate for the construction of all types of housing through our MBEP Action Center. Below is the latest news on some of the projects we are working on.

Santa Cruz Housing

A mixed-use library project that could bring at least 50 affordable housing units to downtown Santa Cruz earned conceptual approval by the city council last week. The council voted 4-2 in favor of the development proposal. The new library, to be built on a city-owned parking lot at Lincoln, Cedar and Cathcart streets, would replace the Santa Cruz Public Library system’s downtown headquarters, funded in part from $27 million in Measure S library facilities bond funding approved by voters in 2016. Multiple floors above the library would include at least 50 affordable housing units, and a multi-story parking garage would be constructed adjacent o the building.

The vote allows the city to start discussions with the Housing Authority on the low-income housing component, to hire a consultant to begin work on the development’s design, and start to gather detailed financial information related to each component of the mixed-use project.

MBEP’s Housing team submitted a letter in support of the project’s affordable housing element and met with city officials and stakeholders to build support for the project. Read more

Read more News courtesy of Santa Cruz Local, Santa Cruz Sentinel

Watsonville Housing

MBEP member MidPen Housing and Encompass Community Services can move forward on a 72-unit affordable housing project on Miles Lane near Freedom Boulevard in Watsonville, with construction due to start next spring. The project, which includes studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, was unanimously approved last week by the Watsonville City Council, which also approved $2.3 million worth of loans to the nonprofit developer.

MBEP was among a coalition of interested parties supporting the project. Read more
News courtesy of Good Times.

1482 Freedom, Watsonville

$2.052 Million Loan from Monterey Bay Housing Trust Supports Low Income Housing for Families in Santa Cruz County


Monterey Bay Economic Partnership and Housing Trust Silicon Valley announced today a $2.052 million acquisition loan to Eden Housing for 1482 Freedom, a site in Watsonville for an affordable housing development consisting of 53 affordable homes. The affordability will be restricted to those earning 20% to 60% of the area median income which, in Santa Cruz, is $132,400 for a family of four.

This development continues Eden’s green building efforts; the project will be all-electric and served by solar panels. The homes will be a mix of one- to three-bedroom with rents ranging from $423 per month for a one-bedroom to $1,936 for a three-bedroom unit. The planned amenities will include a community center, computer room, offices, laundry, playground, and recreational areas. The location is close to the Center for Employment Training and in short walking distance from a supermarket, several bus stops, and restaurants.

“We applaud our partners at the City of Watsonville, Housing Trust Silicon Valley, and the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership for tackling the housing crisis with us by supporting this project,” said Linda Mandolini, president of Eden Housing. “We look forward to working with the community to create a welcoming home that instills pride in its residents.”

Funds for the loan were also provided by Dignity Health and TECH Fund, Housing Trust’s Silicon Valley’s investment vehicle that enables greater Bay Area entities to invest in affordable housing. TECH Fund investors include Cisco, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Google, The Grove Foundation, LinkedIn, NetApp, Pure Storage, and the Sobrato Family Foundation.

“This new project brings the total number of homes we’ve helped finance in Santa Cruz County to a total of 188 among three developments, including this one,” said Kevin Zwick, CEO of Housing Trust Silicon Valley. “Monterey Bay Economic Partnership and Eden Housing have a great plan and strong leadership to help move this new project forward. We’re proud of the ongoing collaboration with MBEP and are excited to see what’s next.”

“The pandemic has shown us again how critical affordable housing is to our safety net infrastructure,” said Matt Huerta, MBEP Housing Program Manager. “It takes strong collaboration and investment from all sectors to make this infrastructure a reality. Our community will recover more quickly and build resiliency as we build on this investment.”

About Monterey Bay Housing Trust

Monterey Bay Housing Trust (MBHT) is designed to promote the development and preservation of affordable housing throughout Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. The MBHT provides early bridge financing for land acquisition, predevelopment, construction or preservation of affordable homes.

About MBEP 

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region. www.mbep.biz.

About Housing Trust Silicon Valley

Housing Trust Silicon Valley is a nonprofit community loan fund based in San Jose that works to improve the quality of life of low-income people in the greater Bay Area by increasing affordable housing opportunities. Since 2000, Housing Trust has invested over $335 million in programs that help everyone from those experiencing homelessness to renters to first-time homebuyers – creating over 20,000 affordable housing opportunities serving over 36,700 of our neighbors. It is the first nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) to receive a Standard & Poor’s rating, AA- because of its strong capacity to meet financial commitments. For more information visit www.housingtrustsv.org

Garden Road, Monterey

MBEP Advocates for Collaborative Solutions to Regional Housing Shortage

Neighborhood opposition is typically the biggest obstacle to more affordable housing across the state and our region. Several recent legislative wins and a housing-friendly governor have strengthened housing production mandates to counteract this deep-seated opposition. Locally, MBEP’s Housing Initiative has created a large diverse coalition of advocates who can voice support: One major example of this occurred last year when the City of Monterey approved the rezoning of an underperforming industrial area along Garden Road. MBEP endorsed and led a large team of stakeholders that advocated for that rezoning which could see more than 400 housing units with at least 20 percent affordable to lower income households to meet the city’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance. 

All of this momentum was recently challenged by another arm within the state government itself. The State’s Water Resource Control Board sent a warning to the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD), which resulted in the District denying the City of Monterey’s request to allocate its reserve water allocation to activate hundreds of new homes, including affordable housing on Garden Road. The state board believes the request violates the cease and desist order from 2009 that limits new water meters and pumping from the Carmel River. The order prohibits allocating water to a project that changes land uses and therefore the city’s rezoning of Garden Road to allow residential is ineligible. Simply put, the state is mandating housing production, while at the same time limiting the development of affordable housing projects that have local support to transfer water credits within the MPWMD service area.

The momentum swung back toward winning more housing this past Monday. A coalition of advocates led in part by MBEP turned out in force to ask the Water District to allocate water, that it was recommending to deny, and instead, work with the City of Monterey to challenge the State WRCB’s determination. As a result of the advocacy effort, the board voted 5-2 to support over 5-acre feet of reserve water allocation requested by the city and to seek a settlement with the State Water Board. More advocacy at the state level is needed but if the decision is upheld, then Monterey is expected to see 303 new homes with approximately 233 of these homes as 100% affordable to our local workforce and lower-income households. The proposed affordable homes along Garden Road will be re-purposing underperforming commercial space and will be centrally located on the Peninsula serving the entire region. Prioritization of water for new higher-density housing is supported in MBEP’s Blue Paper, “A Study on the Impact of Water on Housing Development on the Monterey Peninsula,” where it shows that multi-family dwellings use less water than single-family homes on average.

Special thanks to the many strong voices of support including City of Monterey elected officials and staff, and representatives from Monterey Peninsula Renters United, Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, United Way Monterey County, Middlebury Institute of International Studies Student Housing Coalition, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, and the Monterey County Association of Realtors.

Please join this large coalition of supporters as we turn our attention to asking the State Water Resources Control Board to join the state legislature and governor in supporting solutions for more affordable housing production.

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111 Errett Circle, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Approves Co-Housing Project

The Santa Cruz City Council unanimously approved a co-housing development project at 111 Errett Circle last week that could result in as many as 36 new homes being built on the site of the former Garfield Park Community Church. At its May 13 meeting, the council agreed to two site development options for the 1.62-acre circular piece of land, designed to allow for flexibility on the part of the developer. A plan preferred by the developers would allow up to 36 units in total, with 12 houses around a common building and an allowance for one regular and one junior ADU on each lot. A second option, preferred by city staff, would feature 10 houses, four ADUs, a common building, and six detached condominiums.

MBEP played a key role in rallying additional support and assisting the Circle of Friends LLC with its community engagement and development strategy.  Learn more
News courtesy of the Santa Cruz Sentinel and Santa Cruz Local.