Villas on the Park

  • San Jose, California
  • Affirmed Housing Group

Guided by the premise that the first step in helping the homeless is to give them a home, Villas on the Park, the result of a joint venture between Affirmed Housing and PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) Ventures, is creating a regional model focused on permanent local housing for local homeless. While construction has yet to begin, it has won entitlement approval with strong community support and zero opposition at City Council.

The City of San Jose's St. James Park is currently home to many of downtown's homeless individuals, and these individuals will be first in line to move into this new residential service facility to feature 78 permanent housing units and five interim housing units. Simultaneously housing and serving permanent and interim residents while addressing their differing needs was the primary design objective. 

There is complete separation between the permanent housing units and interim housing units and their associated amenity spaces in order to facilitate an atmosphere that helps the permanent residents to form a sense of community and stability as opposed to the inherently transitory nature of interim housing.

Design solutions combined with onsite services will help residents transition from homelessness to living in a supportive community. For example, many formerly homeless experience anxiety when in enclosed spaces after what for many has been years of living outdoors. Semi-enclosed spaces help ease that transition. As such, the design features:

  • A semi-enclosed outdoor landscaped courtyard with the external access point secured via a decorative metal gate, designed by an artist.
  • Stepped massing creating space for a rooftop deck with a view of St. James Park.
  • Open-air circulation hallways, maximizing natural light in circulation areas as well as in units.

Maximized programmable space, achieving a total of 10,000 square feet, including:

  • Office spaces and staff lounge for onsite property manager, case manager and other staff.
  • Dedicated community room and secured lobby for permanent residents
  • Shared laundry facilities on every floor.
  • Space for visiting medical staff to provide health services.
  • Sports services spaces that can combined into one space or separated into two.
  • Multipurpose spaces that can be combined or separated as well as other flex spaces for events such as a farmers market to provide residents with fresh produce.

Minimized space dedicated to parking, as most residents will not own vehicles. Minimized staff parking impact (12 stalls) by placing 10 of 12 (1 EV stall) in a parking lift system.

Project Specs

Site Area:0.4 acre
Building Area:57,454 sqft
Number of Units:84 studio apartments
Density/FAR:236.9 du/ac

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