Kelsey Shovels

Breaking Ground on San Francisco’s First Disability-Forward Affordable Housing Community

Mercy Housing California (MHC) and our partners at The Kelsey proudly broke ground at The Kelsey Civic Center this summer. Located just across from City Hall, this 112-home affordable housing community will be the first of its kind in San Francisco. The Kelsey Civic Center (TKCC) will serve as a beacon of sustainability and disability justice in the heart of a city with a rich history in both.

When TKCC opens its doors in 2025, twenty-five percent of the apartment homes will be designated to serve people with disabilities who use Home and Community-Based Services. The building will be designed with accessibility in mind, and onsite programming for all residents and their neighbors will foster a mutually supportive environment. Two full-time Inclusion Concierges™ will help residents navigate their neighborhood, engage with their city, connect to programs and activities, and build community among residents of all abilities.

MHC is co-developing this community with The Kelsey, a nonprofit focused on creating accessible, affordable, inclusive housing solutions so that people with and without disabilities can thrive in connected communities.

“We love partnering with The Kelsey because they think creatively about today’s most pressing housing challenges,” said MHC President Doug Shoemaker. “We’re hopeful that the model we’re developing together at The Kelsey Civic Center can be replicated all over the country.”

California’s housing crisis has been especially damaging for people with disabilities, many of whom rely on Supplemental Security Income and can’t afford rising rents. TKCC will be affordable to people earning between 20% and 80% of Area Median Income, and 25% of apartment homes will be reserved for people with disabilities. The ground floor will house the new Disability Cultural Community Center, a gathering place for residents and their neighbors to connect and create community.

The groundbreaking event on June 8th brought together community members of all abilities, ethnicities, and backgrounds to celebrate the partnership’s achievement. Elizabeth Grigsby, a longtime disability justice activist and board member for The Kelsey, shared moving words about the importance of recognizing each person’s power and agency.

“It’s always been said that people with disabilities need to be taken care of, they need to be saved, they need someone to look out for them,” said Elizabeth. “Nobody ever said, these people need to have a life. They need to work. They need to have housing in their communities. And that’s one thing I can assure you – The Kelsey will bring that to the table.”

Mercy Housing California thanks our funders and partners at The Kelsey Civic Center:

  • The Kelsey (Co-developer)
  • Public funders: State of California Department of Housing and Community Development Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, State of California Department of Housing and Community Development Housing Accelerator Program, San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, California Department of Developmental Services, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 811 Program
  • Financing partners: Golden Gate Regional Center, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Chase, Housing Trust Silicon Valley, and many generous individuals
  • Architect: WRNS Studio and Santos Prescott and Associates
  • General Contractor: Cahill Contractors