With an average of 300 square feet per apartment, the living spaces in the building aren’t huge. But “all the things a formerly homeless person would need are right on site,” explains Amit Price Patel, the project architect. That includes a counseling center, a medical suite, a community room, and a residents’ lounge. There are also retail spaces on the ground floor: a Vietnamese sandwich shop, a picture frame shop, and most importantly for residents, a bakery and cafe that provides a “paid learning experience” for people who are disabled and homeless or at risk of becoming so.
The apartments are affordable for all who live there—residents pay 30% of their income as rent, up to a maximum of $870. And the building is saving money for the city, too. The 120 apartment residents used $2.4 million in city and medical services in the year before moving in. It’s a cost that is being dramatically cut with the onsite medical clinic.