Located in San Diego’s Clairemont neighborhood, the new Ivy Senior Apartments create 52 supportive homes, plus one manager’s unit, for seniors with chronic medical needs who have experienced homelessness. In a model known as “Housing First,” Ivy Senior Apartments aim to provide individuals with permanent housing first, which is then coupled with robust supportive services and resources from PATH, St. Paul’s PACE, and Alpha Project Home Finder. These organizations help individuals in California and nationwide through permanent housing, home health, and supportive resources, such as “case management, medical and mental healthcare, benefits advocacy, employment training, and other services” to help residents live more stable, independent lives.
The Housing First model, which includes the approach of Permanent Supportive Housing, has been proven as an effective solution for reducing chronic homelessness, helping some U.S. communities reduce chronic homelessness by 90 percent. Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation has equipped residents’ new homes with furniture and appliances, and St. Paul’s PACE and Allgire General Contractors provided houseware and supplies. Residents will also continue to receive support from programs on-site including health and wellness care, skill building, advocacy, and other services.
Ivy Senior Apartments exemplify that human-purposed and high-quality design should be accessible to all. The project aims to address the high rate of homelessness in the San Diego area and specifically respond to the challenges unhoused senior citizens can face while navigating permanent housing, careers, and support services by providing beautiful, high-performance, and supportive homes.
Each apartment unit opens onto an outdoor community courtyard at the heart of the facility. Gathering spaces, a community garden, lounges, and multi-purpose space for trainings and classes also convene around the courtyard, establishing important connections to nature and strengthening opportunities for community interaction.
Ivy Senior Apartments feature a simple and elegant façade, including eight-foot glass windows and screens which help create a dynamic elevation along the facility’s main street view. This project also focused on implementing trauma-informed design strategies to support residents’ transition from past living situations to permanent and stable housing. This was important to the project’s design parti, a guiding thought process which emphasized creating a sense of transparency and clarity in the building’s common spaces. The design balances this open and inviting environment with safety and security technologies to ensure the site remains secure for residents.
An openness of the main courtyard and other interior spaces, daylighting, access to nature and views, a natural color palette, and accessible signage contribute to the apartments’ clarity and greet residents with a welcoming and comfortable home environment. Colors hold a significant role in inclusive design, and the design team conducted color research studies focused on resident well-being and enhancing wayfinding for individuals with color-blindness as they navigate the facility.
The site and design utilize numerous sustainable strategies that qualify Ivy Senior Apartments for Greenpoint Gold Certification. Ivy Senior Apartments operates as an all-electric facility, aligned with State of California initiatives to reduce reliance on fossil fuel generated energy. The site is also covered by a high percentage of vegetation and native landscaping, which are essential to establishing bio-retention areas as well as important connections to nature for residents.
As a result of the project’s sustainable strategies, Ivy Senior Apartments achieves an estimated 40 percent energy use reduction, 37 percent carbon reduction, and 27 percent lighting power density (LPD) reduction. Sustainable and cost-effective design is important in enabling Ivy Senior Apartments and projects of a similar nature to achieve funding that helps advance project goals and organizational missions.
5858 Mt Alifan Dr, San Diego, CA 92111
Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation
Elaine Camuso - firstname.lastname@example.org