CCR Issue 9

Page 65

The communitycentered approach Addressing California’s affordable housing crisis By Tom Pflueger


alifornia’s senior population has been growing at a rapid pace for the past few years. According to projections by the state Department of Finance, the number

of Californians 65 and older is expected to climb by 2.1 million by 2026. By contrast, the number of 25- to 64-year-olds is projected to grow by just more than half a million and the number of Califor-

nians younger than 25 will grow by a mere 2,500. Despite the shifting demographics, the conversation surrounding the affordable housing crisis has been largely absent from state legislators as politicians take hold of other issues, including education, healthcare, and the environment. Meanwhile the silvering of California is placing enormous strain on the state’s already fragile network of long-term services and supports, including affordable-housing for seniors, in-home aides, and skilled nursing facilities. So, the question becomes, “How can architects address the issue and help provide solutions to this statewide crisis?”

Paired with the onset of an unprecedented pandemic that sent unemployment rates soaring higher than they were during the Great Depression, providing affordable and safe housing options for seniors and other vulnerable populations became more crucial than ever. Looking to ease the affordable-housing crisis plaguing the Bay Area, Alameda, Californiabased MBH Architects, in collaboration with Jon Worden Architects, assisted MidPen Housing Corporation in designing Fetters and Celestina Garden Apartments. The development serves to provide low-cost rentals in the heart of Sonoma