Civic San Diego approves design for Father Joe’s Villages downtown affordable housing

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The planning group Civic San Diego voted Wednesday to give final approval on the designs for Father Joe’s Villages’ affordable housing development at 14th and Commercial Streets.

Father Joe’s Villages now moves forward to finalize architectural plans for the housing and prepare for initial construction. A temporary tent shelter will be assembled at this 14th and Commercial location later this year, then be removed in November 2018 in accordance with the City of San Diego’s contract.

Father Joe’s Villages expects that construction on its permanent supportive housing will begin at the same site in early 2019.

“We know that creating more housing that people can afford is the key to addressing our region’s homelessness crisis in the long term,” says Father Joe’s Villages President and CEO Deacon Jim Vargas. “With today’s vote, we take one step closer to helping more people off our streets for good.”

Father Joe’s Villages’ new structure will provide housing for people who have struggled with homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless, providing them with the comprehensive supportive services they need to remain housed. 270 units will be reserved for individuals who are chronically homeless, while the remaining units will go to formerly homeless veterans, individuals and families.

“Once you have an affordable place to live, it’s infinitely easier to get back on your feet and stay healthy,” says Vargas. “This project will connect hundreds of people with the resources they need to succeed, and it can’t come soon enough.”

The development is part of Father Joe’s Villages’ larger initiative to bring 2,000 new units of much-needed affordable housing to San Diego by breathing new life into unused lots and overlooked buildings, including the transformation of motels into apartments. Turning the Key incorporates sites throughout San Diego, with the majority of the units outside of downtown. 

Turning the Key is funded through a public-private partnership that leverages existing public dollars and private contributions. The organization has already identified more than 75 percent of the $531 million needed to complete the construction for Turning the Key Developments. 

With approval from Civic San Diego, Father Joe’s Villages and its partner Chelsea Investment Corporation will move forward to finalize architectural plans for the 14th and Commercial location with local firm Joseph Wong Design Associates.

The temporary tent shelter at the 14th and Commercial site will be removed in November 2018 according to a contract with the City of San Diego, and Father Joe’s Villages anticipates that people will begin moving into the new affordable housing as early as the first part of 2021.

As a nonprofit organization, Father Joe’s Villages continues to rely on community support. To find ways to get involved and to donate to help end homelessness in San Diego, visit or call 1-800-HOMELESS to help ensure that all of San Diego shines.

Categories: Local San Diego News