Charities Housing Moves Forward with Plans to Build 99-Unit Fully Affordable Project in San Jose

Charities Housing, San Jose, 555 Keyes, David Baker Architects, Plan Bay Area 2040
Courtesy of David Baker Architects

By Meghan Hall

As the cost of housing rises rapidly compared to wages, the presence of affordable housing has become increasingly critical. Across the Bay Area, a number of affordable projects are in the works, and San Jose-based Charities Housing has now submitted plans to bring its own development into the mix. According to plans on file with the City, the organization intends to construct a fully-affordable project at 555 Keyes Street in San Jose.

The project would be 100 percent affordable. In all, it would rise six stories and include 99 units, plus one manager’s unit. Plans show that the first floor of the building would include the main entrance, six studio apartments, three one-bedroom apartments, five-two-bedrooms and two three-bedrooms. The second, third, fourth and fifth floors would each have five studios, three one-bedrooms, four two-bedrooms and five three-bedroom units. The six floor, in addition to units, would have an outdoor terrace, while the basement will be utilized as amenity space.

David Baker Architects is in charge of designs for the project. The development will incorporate a variety of building articulation elements and facades of varying depths and colors. Balconies and windows will provide additional visual interest. 

Construction is expected to take 19 months. Currently, the San Francisco Bay Area has a population of 7.7 million, making it the fourth largest metropolitan region in the Bay Area. The City states in its analysis of the project that as a result, the area is experiencing a housing crisis. Referencing The Plan Bay Area 2040 Final Plan, documents note that, “although the housing crisis has many components, its foundation is clear: there simply is not enough housing, whether market-rate or affordable, given the growing number of residents and jobs.”

The housing crisis in the Bay Area has reached a fever pitch after decades of limited action. City officials note that the shortage of housing originally began in 1970, when the number of permitted housing units began to decline. In 1970, the region permitted 65,000 multifamily units and 27,000 single-family units. In 2015, 21,000 multifamily and 8,000 single-family units were permitted. 

Of San Jose specifically, the City notes that the gap between the city’s wealthiest residents and its poorest is rising.

“It is a region of distinct socio- economic stratification, containing many of the wealthiest households in the nation,” project documents state. “It is also one of the least affordable places to live, and the vast majority of low-income Bay Area households experience an excessive housing cost burden, regardless of where they live.”

Over the past five years, San Jose’s overall homeless count has risen 42 percent. The numbers are sobering: more than one million San Jose residents alone are classified as homeless.

Once completed, 555 Keyes will make a small but necessary dent in the region’s housing imbalance. The organization has been in business since 1993, when it was formed out of Catholic Charities’ Division of Housing Development. Today, the organization oversees 1,200 units and contracts in its efforts to provide housing to low-income families in the Bay Area.

As of this writing, Catholic Charities had not yet returned The Registry’s request for comment.

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