FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why is Mercy Housing pursuing this development?
Through a city-initiated process, Mercy Housing was awarded the parcel located at 924-945 E. Pacific Coast Highway by the City of Long Beach. Mercy Housing is committed to work with the City to develop affordable rental housing which includes apartments serving seniors and senior veterans who have experienced homelessness, as well as a neighborhood-serving space on the ground floor.
During the proposal process for the city-owned parcel, Mercy Housing reached an agreement with the adjacent property owner in order to purchase the site (901 – 917 E PCH) to the west, enabling Mercy Housing to propose a larger development spanning the two sites (901-945 E. PCH).
What is the planning process for this development?
Mercy Housing received planning approval and entitlements through the City of Long Beach in September 2020. Heritage Gardens required a Site Plan Review, Zone Change, and Conditional Use Permit, all of which were processed through the Planning Commission and City Council. This development also qualifies for the State Density Bonus. The State Density Bonus allows developments that exceed a certain base level of affordability to increase density, reduce the amount of required parking, and request waivers from certain development standards. While Heritage Gardens did not request an increase above the permitted density, it did seek reduced minimum parking requirements and waivers from development standards under the State Density Bonus Law.
Who are the architects working on this development?
The design team for Heritage Gardens is Studio One Eleven. Studio One Eleven is an architecture, landscape, and urban design firm dedicated to repairing cities. Located in downtown Long Beach, the firm’s work includes affordable housing and community focused developments. A sampling of their work includes:
How is the development designed to address the privacy concerns of the neighbors across the alley?
Heritage Gardens is designed to be highly sensitive to the neighboring properties. The building massing steps down to the north towards the alley and most of the building massing is to the south along Pacific Coast Highway. Additionally, the courtyard is located along the north façade and has been changed to one-story to reduce the building frontage on the alley. The courtyard space also provides for a large landscaped hedge along the alley which, along with taller landscape on the ground floor, will reduce views from the courtyard space into nearby residences. The alleyway will also be widened by five feet to create more space between the new building and neighboring properties.
What other design changes were made as a result of community input?
The Mercy team made several changes after receiving feedback from the community. Some of these changes include the addition of public art on the building, making the design consistent with Long Beach design tradition, and putting more activity along the Pacific Coast Highway frontage. The full list and illustration of these changes can be found at: https://www.longbeachsenior.org/info.
The future residents will be seniors, aged 55 and over, with limited incomes, as well as seniors and senior veterans who have experienced homelessness. There will be 67 apartments whose rents range between $554-1,222 per month. Income eligibility limits are based on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines, which are updated annually. According to current income eligibility limits, 15 of the apartments will be made available to persons whose incomes are at or below $19,725 annually (25% of Area Median Income), 18 of the apartments will be made available to persons whose incomes are at or below $23,670 annually (30% of Area Median Income), 25 of the apartments will be made available for persons whose incomes are at or below $31,560 annually (40% of Area Median Income), and 9 of the apartments will be made available for persons whose incomes are at or below $47,340 annually (60% of Area Median Income). There will be 1 on-site management apartment.
What is the management staffing at the property?
There will be a full-time property manager, assistant property manager, part-time housing support specialist, janitor, and maintenance technician, who will work at the property. A member of the management team will also live on site.
How will property management handle any issues that may arise?
The property manager is responsible for responding to neighborhood concerns regarding the property and the impact residents or guests are having in the community. Neighbors will have contact information for the property manager and will be encouraged to share their concerns.
What is the staffing for resident services at the property and what services will be provided for the residents?
Heritage Gardens will have four (4) staff members providing resident and case management services to the 67 senior households living there. Mercy Housing California’s services team, one full time Resident Services Coordinator and one part time Activity Coordinator, will offer programming throughout the day in the areas of health and wellness, financial literacy, art and cooking, as well as other activities developed with the seniors living at Heritage Gardens. The resident services coordinator will also connect residents with organizations and additional services throughout the Long Beach community. Mercy Housing California has served as a successful service provider to its senior residents for over 35 years, serving residents at dozens of senior properties around California and the country, including St. Mary Tower on Atlantic Avenue in Long Beach.
In addition, two full-time case managers will interact with residents who have experienced homelessness and will work one-on-one with those residents to help them achieve their goals and advocate on their behalf. Case managers will also provide referrals for addiction treatment and mental health support, as well as assistance with medication compliance. The Department of Veterans Affairs will provide the second case manager who will specifically support the veterans living at Heritage Gardens.
What is the leasing/screening process for applicants?
The leasing process includes requests for information on credit history and landlord history, as well as other indicators that the applicant will be able to live successfully in the community. All members of the household will sign the lease obligating them to the conditions of the lease and all lease addenda. In addition, Mercy Housing contracts with a third party to conduct criminal background checks on all applicants for the properties in its portfolio. This is to determine that neither the resident nor any household member will have a record of misdemeanor convictions within the past 3 years or a record of felony convictions in the past 4 years. No applicant or household member who is subject to the national sex offender lifetime registration will be admitted under any circumstance.
How can I apply to live in these apartments?
The lease up process is anticipated to begin in late Summer 2023 for an approximate move-in period of Fall 2023. Please check www.longbeachsenior.org in Summer 2023 for application information.
There will be 38 parking spaces. These spaces will be shared between residents, staff, and visitors on a first-come, first-served basis, and they will be supervised by the management staff.
Will there be opportunities for the community to be involved at the property?
Yes! Volunteers, both individuals and groups, are welcome at all Mercy properties. There will be opportunities for volunteers to help with many different events and activities, as well as holiday celebrations. Residents are also encouraged to volunteer in the community, so suggestions of opportunities are gratefully received.
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