“Stepping Stones” Affordable Housing Program
Home ownership - long the "American Dream" - has become increasingly elusive for thousands of San Diegans. San Diego County was the seventh least affordable housing market in the nation, and the skyrocketing cost of homeownership made it impossible for many low-to moderate-income families to make one of life’s most important investments.
In 2002 on behalf of Shea Homes, Public Policy Strategies launched Stepping Stones™ - the nation's first energy-efficient, for-sale, affordable new home community.
As part of its larger commitment to providing a broad range of housing opportunities in balanced communities, Shea Homes is constructing 42 affordable housing units in the South Village community of Black Mountain Ranch that include the same solar power systems found in the company’s market-rate homes. Stepping Stones™ Bella Rosa at Verrazzano will showcase several innovations in the development of affordable housing, providing low-moderate income buyers with the added value of a financial stake in the community offered by home ownership and an opportunity for major energy savings.
In administering the program, PPS worked closely with the City of San Diego’s Housing Commission to devise criteria that positions Bella Rosa as a for-sale affordable housing model; initiated a strategic marketing partnership with the San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP) to identify and qualify potential homebuyers.
The partnership with SDOP included community meetings designed to educate prospective homebuyers about Shea’s Stepping Stones™ program, plus the utilization of SDOP’s 40,000-member database to market the homes to qualified buyers. PPS drafted and placed opinion pieces in the Union-Tribune (see attached); developed collateral materials including fact sheets and news releases.
In the fall of 2004, Shea Homes opened Bella Rosa at Verrazzano – the nation's first energy-efficient, for-sale, affordable new home community in San Diego.