• California
  • California
  • California
  • California
  • California
Home Breadcrumb | Stories | High Place West

High Place West

About

In the Pico neighborhood of Santa Monica, where the cost of living continues to rise, High Place West brings low- and moderate-income families closer to public transportation, schools and jobs. Part of a larger project from the developer Community Corporation of Santa Monica that will include High Place East, the development will help ensure the economic diversity of the neighborhood while featuring a contemporary design that includes a central courtyard with a large playground area. A park and elementary school are just steps away.

Affordability

32 two-bedroom and 15 three-bedroom apartments for households earning 35 percent to 60 percent of area median income

Green

Solar panels, LED lighting, drought-tolerant landscaping and low-flow plumbing fixtures

Access to Transit

The apartments are located within walking distance of Santa Monica's bus service, the "Big Blue Bus." High Place West is also just one-half mile from the future Expo Light Rail station to be completed in 2016.

California

A courtyard with a playground and a school in walking distance are among many features that make High Place West perfect for families with children.

California

High Place West brings affordable rental homes to Santa Monica, Calif., where high property values make it difficult for many families to rent homes.

Enterprise's role

Recognizing the lack of affordable housing and transit options in the Santa Monica area, Enterprise invested $8.3 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity, with JPMorgan Capital Corporation as the equity investor.

Partners

California Community Reinvestment Corporation; California Debt Limit Allocation Committee; California Department of Housing & Community Development Multifamily Housing Program; California Tax Credit Allocation Committee; Citi; City of Santa Monica; Community Corporation of Santa Monica; JPMorgan Capital Corporation

Global Journey to a Happy Home

Bouncing up and down, kids chase each other across the living room as their parents, Tesfaye and Martha, look on. With five children — Ebenezer, 11; Kenaan, 9; and 2-year-old triplets Tselot, Illita and Imnet — life in the Bayu household can be loud and chaotic, but it's also bursting with joy.

The happiness of their home at High Place West in Santa Monica, Calif., is literally a world apart from Tesfaye and Martha's native country of Ethiopia. "It was hard to live there," says Tesfaye.

"You really don't have freedom. Even though Ethiopia is where I'm from, I feel like this is my country."

Upon moving to the United States, Tesfaye secured a job as an in-home caregiver. That experience helped him become a nursing assistant at Cedars-Sinai Hospital. "It was really challenging at first," he says of the transition to caring for dozens of patients per day, "but I kept looking to the future."

Before the Bayu family moved to High Place West, Tesfaye paid much more for rent and endured a long commute to his kids' school, driving an hour and a half each way. Now, their school is just five minutes from home. Tesfaye and Martha have confidence in their children's teachers. "The school here is very good," says Tesfaye. "I know they're getting the best."

The entire family loves that High Place West is more than a home – it's a community. They are close with many of their neighbors, and know they can always count on resident services coordinator Carolina Valle of Community Corporation of Santa Monica. Tesfaye praises Carolina, who plans all the on-site activities, from Zumba dance classes to credit card counseling. She's also helping Tesfaye manage his finances so the family can remain in their home.

"Carolina is really wonderful," says Tesfaye. "She has a good heart. She will do anything to help."

Living in a place they can afford has created a solid foundation for Tesfaye and his family as they build their life in the United States. "When I pay rent, I never feel like it's a payment," he says. "I feel like this is my home."

Closing a Critical Gap

  • California

California State Senator Ted Lieu knows how hard life is without a stable place to call home. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, at 3 years old his family moved to Cleveland with just enough money to rent out a cramped basement apartment in someone else's house.

Facing the hardships of poverty meant scrimping, saving and long hours selling gifts at flea markets, but their perseverance paid off. His parents finally opened their own gift shop, eventually expanding to six locations.

"To this day, I remember how hard they worked," Lieu says, also recalling the discrimination he and his family encountered, including several customers refusing to buy from their shops. After five years, they saved enough to move out of the basement apartment and into their first home.

"There's no place like home, no matter how humble," Lieu says.

Thankful for the opportunities that the United States gave his family, Lieu decided to join the military to serve his country. "I believe I can never give back to this country all that it has given to my family," Lieu says. His service at Los Angeles Air Force base brought him to Southern California, where he later began his civil service career, fueled by his focus on bringing opportunity to all.

A state senator since 2011, Lieu encourages public and private collaboration to expand affordable housing options for people who need it. He co-sponsored the California Homes and Jobs Act (SB 391), which, if passed, will fund the development, rehabilitation and preservation of affordable homes for low- and moderate-income households.

Lieu not only supports affordable housing, he understands the importance of linking homes to opportunity. He sees how High Place West in Santa Monica, Calif., does that by bringing people closer to public transportation, good schools and jobs. "High Place West fulfills a critical need for affordable housing," Lieu says.

"I'm grateful for housing developments like this, and for Enterprise's continued support."