bayview hill gardens

Mercy Housing Property Wins Prestigious Architecture Award



Sheela Jivan


San Francisco (5/18/2015)— Mercy Housing and the Providence Foundation are pleased to announce that one of their properties, Bayview Hill Gardens in San Francisco, Calif., has been named the recipient of the American Institute of Architect’s (AIA) prestigious Housing Award.

bayview hill gardens
Bayview Hill Gardens

The Housing Award recognizes the best in housing design, and is meant to acknowledge the importance of quality housing as a life necessity, a sanctuary for the human spirit, and a valuable national resource. Representatives from David Baker Architects, the firm responsible for the design of Bayview Hill Gardens, accepted the award on May 15, 2015 at the AIA Convention in Atlanta, Ga.

“In partnership with Mercy Housing and the Providence Foundation, we are thrilled to be honored with the AIA Housing Award,” said Amit Price Patel, Principal at David Baker Architects. “Architecture has the power to uplift neighborhoods and individual lives, and we focused on making a place that respects the community, truly supports the residents, and helps create strong social bonds.”

Bayview Hill Gardens is the only building dedicated to formerly homeless families in its neighborhood, which has the second highest homelessness rate in San Francisco. Its opening in 2014 moved many families off waiting lists for overtaxed shelters and has reduced pressure on emergency services in the area. Mercy Housing, the Providence Foundation, and Michael Simmons Property Development. Inc. developed the property. It was constructed by Cahill Contractors, Inc.

Previously the site of an abandoned and blighted motel, Bayview Hill Gardens provides 73 green, supportive homes for formerly homeless families and youth aging out of foster care. This bright, new, GreenPoint Rated building replaced a crime-ridden site with safe and stable homes.

New residents are provided with “welcome kits” of furnishings and supplies.  A comprehensive range of supportive services, including child-specific programs are offered in the building’s convenient on-site offices. The 115 kids living in the building receive healthy snacks, homework help, after-school care, and chaperoned field trips. Through on-site social and vocational services for residents, Bayview Hill Gardens supports residents while also fostering the cultural and economic diversity of the neighborhood.

Case management, youth services coordination, and resident services coordination are provided by The Bayview Hunters Point Foundation for Community Improvement, Inc., Providence Foundation of San Francisco, and Mercy Housing California, respectively.

“Bayview Hill Gardens represents a holistic approach to affordable housing, where people who have experienced homelessness are given the tools to grow to their full potential in a beautiful and dignified environment,” said Doug Shoemaker, President of Mercy Housing California.

The transit-oriented building features extensive community space, custom artisan details, a unique art partnership with a local gallery representing artists who are developmentally disabled, and African-inspired design elements to reflect and honor the history of the neighborhood.

In the central courtyard, an 8,500-square-foot urban garden with fruit trees, vines, and planting beds allows residents to grow their own food and get their hands dirty. Varied-height planters accommodate people’s differing relationships to the gardening beds – for adults, teens, children, and people with disabilities – as well as providing places to rest or socialize in the garden court. A local gardening non-profit oversees this “edible landscape,” with residents providing the daily garden care.

One resident, Dior Hall, was brought to wider attention by the PBS NewsHour, when her move from shelter to a permanent home at Bayview Hill Gardens was held up by the 2013 government shutdown. Upon receiving keys to the new apartment, Dior told NewsHour, “It was total happiness, exhaustion, and excitement. One of the first things that hit me when I walked through the door was a sense of responsibility. I need to pay my own bills, pay my rent.”

Dior works part-time and is looking forward to her newfound stability to work more and to begin classes to be a real estate agent. “Moving here from the shelter has been a blessing and a boost,” she says. “From here, I can work more and study so I can help other people.”


About David Baker Architects

David Baker Architects is a progressive architecture firm in San Francisco that creates acclaimed buildings in urban environments. Formed by David Baker in 1982, DBA is known for exceptional housing, creative site strategies, designing for density, and integrating new construction into the public realm. David Baker Architects has designed and built more than 8,000 dwelling units, including nearly 6,000 affordable units throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The firm is led by a team of five Principals and has won more than 200 local, regional, and national design awards for their work. DBA has a passion for and deep understanding of the power of humane and respectful environments to transform neighborhoods and elevate the lives of individuals and families. For more information, please visit

About Mercy Housing California

Mercy Housing California is the largest regional division of Mercy Housing, Inc. With offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and West Sacramento, Mercy Housing California offers affordable low-income housing programs and Resident Services. We are proud to serve our residents and California communities through the development of 128 rental properties across 36 California counties serving low- and very-low-income working poor families, seniors and individuals. Mercy Housing California has developed 10,942 affordable homes including 7,940 in rental and 3,002 in homeownership. Many California residents struggle daily with the high cost of living. The average household income is more than $48,400 – nearly $5,000 more than the national average. The average annual income of a Mercy Housing California resident is $19,525. Mercy Housing California remains committed to changing lives and revitalizing neighborhoods by providing safe, quality, service-enriched housing.

About Cahill Construction, Inc.

Calhill Construction, Inc is a full-service general contractor uniquely equipped to take on construction projects anywhere in North America. Since 1996, Cahill Construction has built over 800 retail stores and restaurants in hundreds of cities across the U.S. and Canada. The contacts they maintain with thousands of subcontractors and vendors enable them to accommodate the individual needs of their customers, as well as provide the best service and value. In addition, they now create personalized web sites for their clients that deliver daily progress reports and images of current projects.

About Michael Simmons Property Development, Inc.

Michael Simmons Property Development, Inc. is a real estate development and consulting firm specializing in affordable housing and community facilities. Founded in 1997, MSPDI develops both new construction and renovation/conversion projects mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area. MSPDI provides project management services to non-profit and for-profit organizations where real estate development is not its core business, and to established development firms where extra capacity is needed. With over 15 years in real estate development, the MSPDI team brings the breadth of its work to each new project and offers services throughout the development lifecycle. MSPDI’s services include project feasibility, site selection and acquisition, building programming, entitlement coordination, financing, permitting, and design and construction oversight. MSPDI works closely with clients to understand their goals and ensure they are met including aligning program, budget and design in order to achieve a successful project. Working with clients, MSPDI creates a development plan, which establishes a project budget and timeline, and explores programming, financing, construction, and design options. MSPDI then manages the team and project through the development process to make certain it is completed on time and on budget.

About Providence Foundation of San Francisco

The Providence Foundation of San Francisco (PFSF) is the nonprofit philanthropic arm of Providence Baptist Church, a 2,000-member cornerstone of the predominately African-American Bay View Hunters Point (BVHP) community of San Francisco for 72 years. Founded by members of the congregation in 1996, the Providence Foundation obtained its 501(c)3 status September 1997 to establish programs that would help to improve the quality of the residents of the Bay View Hunters Point community. The services provided by the Foundation demonstrate a concern for community issues as well as the ability to meet community needs. Providence Foundation’s current programs offer a variety of supportive services for children, families, seniors, and the homeless in the BVHP community. While several of the programs focus on youth services, the needs of very low-income seniors, including minority seniors and the frail or disabled elderly, are the central focus of the Foundation’s Senior Housing Project started in 2006, now complete and ready for occupancy of 50 low-income seniors.

About Bayview Hunters Point Foundation for Community Improvement, Inc.

The Bayview Hunters Point Foundation for Community Improvement, Inc. is a non-profit community-based human services agency founded in 1971. The Foundation was created to address the needs of a predominantly African American, isolated community where essential social services such as legal assistance, drug rehabilitation, and mental health care were unavailable. Programs have now expanded to respond to San Francisco’s diverse communities and client populations and include substance abuse and mental health treatment, youth services, violence prevention/intervention and HIV/AIDS support services. Many of the Foundation’s services are offered citywide. The services provided by the Foundation demonstrate a concern for community issues as well as the ability to meet community needs. The Foundation has a staff of dedicated and committed professionals providing program services and administrative support. The Program staff includes physicians, nurses, LVNs, counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, medical records technicians, billing/intake staff, social workers, administrative support, and program directors. Together, this dedicated staff is responsible for serving over 1,000 clients annually.

About the American Institute of Architects

Based in Washington, D.C., the AIA has been the leading professional membership association for licensed architects, emerging professionals, and allied partners since 1857. With nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA serves as the voice of the architecture profession and the resource for our members in service to society.