Disability Scoop – Michelle Diament
Google is putting up $5.3 million to help make an inclusive apartment complex — catering to those with and without developmental disabilities — a reality.
The technology giant said this week that it will invest in The Kelsey Ayer Station, a development planned in San Jose, Calif. The fully-accessible 115-unit complex is designed to offer rents that are affordable to people of varying income levels and 25 percent of the homes will be reserved for people with developmental disabilities.
Earlier this year, Google pledged to create a $250 million investment fund to spur the development of at least 5,000 affordable housing units in the San Francisco Bay Area where the company is based. The commitment to The Kelsey represents its first project under that initiative.
“The Kelsey’s first development in San Jose will be a pioneering, inclusive housing community,” said Alexa Arena, Google’s San Jose real estate development director. “Google is very excited to be a part of The Kelsey and we’re looking forward to more opportunities to help with the creation and preservation of affordable housing.”
In a blog post, Micaela Connery, founder and CEO of The Kelsey, said the development will be a place where individuals with and without disabilities can “live, play and serve together.”
Located near a light rail station and in walking distance to downtown San Jose, there will be a spot for accessible transit to drop people off, a sensory garden and space for support staff. In addition, two staff members will live on site to help connect residents with each other and their community as well as the services and supports they need, Connery said.
Google’s investment will help with costs for the land purchase and design work, while encouraging others to provide financing and donations for the project, Connery said. It will also allow developers to follow through on their goal of moving in residents in four years, she said.
“The Kelsey Ayer Station will demonstrate what’s possible when people, funding and cities come together with a shared commitment to inclusion,” Connery wrote. “With help from companies like Google and cities like San Jose we’re well on our way and we’re confident that their support will attract others to step up to make inclusive community a reality.”