On August 24th, Caritas Homes I, the first housing component of the ambitious Caritas Village project in downtown Santa Rosa, celebrated its grand opening with a midday gathering of project partners, funders, residents, community stakeholders, and government representatives to acknowledge the significant accomplishment.

Among the honorees of the ribbon-cutting ceremony was Mike Pyatok, who was awarded a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition by U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson’s office, for his role as principal designer of Caritas Homes and for his illustrious career designing affordable housing.

Further project details are provided in a press release (PDF) issued by Burbank Housing, the City of Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, and Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa (and re-posted below).

The 2.3-acre, mixed-use Caritas Village was envisioned by the collaborating developers Catholic Charities and Burbank Housing as a consolidated homelessness services and supportive housing campus - the need for which being exacerbated in 2017 by disastrous wildfires. The Village’s initial phase, Caritas Center, designed by PYATOK and opened in 2022, tripled the service spaces being provided at an adjacent, 100-year-old converted hospital.

Caritas Homes is a distinct project but nevertheless consistent with the Center’s urbanist cues in its creation of dense downtown housing that steps down in transition towards the neighboring single-family community. A garage podium is wrapped by townhomes and apartments, with common amenities fronting a mid-block pedestrian mews. The community room takes shape as a semi-detached “jewel box” on the podium courtyard, creating daylit dining and seating areas and defining a series of outdoor rooms. Trauma-Informed Design strategies create for residents a sense of predictability and security through elements like a deliberate, staffed entrance, beveled corridor corners, and the regular placement of common lounges dedicated alternately for active and quiet functions.

Sixty-four homes just opened for Caritas Homes I; another 64 will comprise Caritas Homes II, currently in predevelopment.

Via Burbank Housing, City of Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, and Catholic Charities Santa Rosa:

Caritas Village Takes Shape as Phase One of Caritas Homes Celebrates Grand Opening
The 64-unit building brings affordable homes to families as well as permanent supportive housing to downtown Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa, CA – August 24, 2023 – Representatives from the City of Santa Rosa, Burbank Housing, Catholic Charities and the County of Sonoma gathered late Thursday morning to cut the ribbon and celebrate the completion of Phase 1 of Caritas Homes, the affordable housing and permanent supportive housing component of Caritas Village, the master redevelopment of the downtown Santa Rosa city block east of Highway 101 along 7th and Morgan Streets. The project cost a total of $43.7 million to develop, with major contributions of $22.3 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits purchased by SVB, $8.9 million in federal CDBG-DR funding administered by the City of Santa Rosa, $6.5 million from the State of California’s Department of Housing and Community Development, a $2.9 million permanent loan from Apple Corp. and administered by Housing Trust Silicon Valley, $2.2 million from Providence Health for both phases of Caritas Homes, $1.57 million from the Sonoma County Community Development Commission, and a $500,000 grant from Silicon Valley Bank Foundation. Construction broke ground in December of 2021 made possible by a $18.7m construction loan from SVB, and wrapped up 19 months later in July of this year.

A partnership between Burbank Housing and Catholic Charities, Caritas Homes will eventually bring 128 units of housing to Caritas Village, the master redevelopment envisioned and orchestrated by Catholic Charities as an answer to Santa Rosa’s need for affordable options for working families and those experiencing housing insecurity.

“At Catholic Charities, we see every day the critical role that stable, affordable housing plays in preventing homelessness,” said Catholic Charities CEO Jennielynn Holmes. “Without affordable housing, individuals and families are vulnerable to a range of challenges that can lead to homelessness. This was at the forefront of our strategy when we conceived Caritas Village. Housing is the foundation for stability, health, and well-being, and by investing in it, we’re investing in people’s futures.”

Burbank Housing’s CEO Larry Florin noted the original plan for Caritas Homes was much smaller in scope. “We initially planned a smaller project in the beginning, but the fires of 2017 changed that. The need for housing after the Tubbs Fire was so great that we knew we had to maximize the amount of housing the space could hold,” said Florin. “That pivot resulted in what you see here today, and it’s only through partnerships that projects of this scale can celebrate a grand opening. Burbank Housing is appreciative to Catholic Charities and its vision for Caritas Village. It’s a vision that encourages the kind of robust collaboration needed to bring Caritas Homes to life.” “The opening of Caritas Homes Phase 1 is an exciting milestone for Santa Rosa as we continue to rebuild following the devastating wildfires of 2017 and work to meet our community’s critical housing need,” said Santa Rosa City Mayor Natalie Rogers. “The project offers affordable homes in our city’s downtown core, and coupled with robust on-site services, it truly offers lifechanging opportunities for residents who are most in need.”

Located in the heart of downtown Santa Rosa, the development of Caritas Homes was a priority for the City, which brought significant resources to bear to ensure its success. “The City of Santa Rosa and its Housing Authority is proud to have assisted in the financing of the Caritas Homes Phase 1 project, providing nearly $9 million in Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery funds from the State of California and 30 Section 8 Project Based Vouchers for chronically homeless households, which, will ensure that these units remain affordable to residents for decades to come,” said Megan Basinger, Director of the Housing and Community Services Department.

The County of Sonoma’s partnership was also instrumental in bringing the project to life, providing $1.57 million in funding from the County’s Community Development Commission. “I couldn’t be more pleased to celebrate the opening of 64 new affordable homes in our community, with the promise of 64 more very soon,” said Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chair Chris Coursey. “This attractive housing checks so many high-priority boxes for me—dignified affordable housing that is city-centered in a transit-rich area, a diversity of housing options that include permanent supportive housing loaded with services, and housing for hard-working low-wage earners. In combination with the Caritas Center’s shelter services, health clinic and day-care facility, Caritas Homes turns this block into a key piece of our efforts to increase housing and end homelessness in Sonoma County.”

Phase 2 of Caritas Homes, which will add an additional 64 units of permanent affordable housing to Caritas Village and the downtown Santa Rosa community, is currently in predevelopment and anticipated to break ground next fall.

Pyatok -

Pyatok - Images courtesy of Burbank Housing

Images courtesy of Burbank Housing