By KENDRA SITTON
Family Health Centers of San Diego is bringing forward a project in El Cerrito that would alleviate the affordable housing crisis and provide much-needed parking for its healthcare center in the area. In a Nov. 19 meeting with the El Cerrito Community Council (ECCC), representatives of the health center presented updates to their plan for the eight-story building and received community feedback.
Family Health Centers of San Diego plans to replace the parking lot of its existing health center with two levels of underground parking, two levels of aboveground parking, one level of clinic space and five stories of affordable housing. The new building will be on the corner of Dayton Street and El Cajon Boulevard and border Gilbert Drive and an alley.
Family Health Centers of San Diego serves many low-income and uninsured San Diegans and is one of the ten largest Federally Qualified Health Centers in the nation. With over 50 sites across the county, the organization is seeking to leverage its property to help the affordable housing crisis.
“We have a lot of properties all around San Diego. With the housing crisis, we decided we have parking lots with a lot of unused space above them… [We were] looking at how to help the housing crisis to increase the number of units in the market to make it more affordable and helping people stay in San Diego,” said Anthony White, the center’s director of community and government relations.
Even the health centers own staff members have struggled to find housing in the area. The building will have 42 of its 162 units of affordable housing set aside for employee workforce housing, including medical residents. The units are studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. For the rest of the residents, the building brings housing and supportive services together.