The Kelsey Receives $37 Million from California Housing Accelerator to Co-Develop 112 Disability-Forward Homes in San Francisco

A cross section view of an apartment building with a community courtyard in the center and colorful paneling on the back corridor. The building is The Kelsey Civic Center.

With development partner Mercy Housing, The Kelsey will build affordable, accessible and inclusive multifamily housing in one of the nation’s most challenging real estate markets

The Kelsey has received $37 million in funding from the California Housing Accelerator, announced Wednesday by Governor Gavin Newsom as part of $1.9 billion in funding for affordable housing construction in the state. The money will allow The Kelsey and development partner Mercy Housing to break ground on a 112-unit Civic Center building in early 2023. 

The development will fill a dire need. People with disabilities, who experience poverty and are priced out of housing at a much higher rate than nondisabled people, are often locked out of housing in their communities—and that’s certainly true in San Francisco. The Kelsey housing will be available to people making 20% to 80% of area median income, making it a truly mixed-income community serving those at the margins. 25% of the homes are reserved for people with disabilities who use supportive services. Designed for accessibility, The Kelsey Civic Center will include a first-of-its-kind Disability Community Cultural Center and individualized Inclusion Concierge™ services. 

“The Kelsey envisions a world where inclusive housing is the norm and people with disabilities have true options for community-based living,” says The Kelsey co-founder and CEO Micaela Connery, noting that the Civic Center location offers proximity to jobs, community, culture, services and transit. “This $37 million award will help us deliver critically needed inclusive homes. We are incredibly grateful to the California Department of Housing and Community Development, Governor Newsom and the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development for investing in our vision.”

The development site is a C40 Cities site in partnership with the Mayor’s Office and San Francisco Department of the Environment, and is a funded project of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. 

“This funding is an essential tool in our work to deliver more affordable housing in San Francisco,” said Mayor London Breed. “While we need to do more work to make it easier to build housing across our entire city, this funding will help us move forward these critical projects so we can get more people housed more quickly. I want to thank the governor for moving this program forward, and our federal leaders like Speaker Pelosi for delivering the American Rescue Plan.”  

The Housing Accelerator, administered by the California Housing and Community Development Department, is funding 5,070 affordable rental homes across 57 developments. Approximately 80% of these homes will serve extremely low- to very low-income individuals and families, including those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The money, allocated from the 2021–22 state budget, is part of the California Comeback Plan to accelerate development of shovel-ready affordable housing for those most in need, clear the backlog of affordable housing projects currently stalled in the tax credit funding pipeline, and reduce the amount of time and money spent on producing new affordable housing.

“Thanks to this crucial Accelerator funding, San Franciscans won’t have to wait for the affordable homes and services they deserve,” said Doug Shoemaker, president of Mercy Housing California. “We’re proud to partner with The Kelsey and the California Department of Housing and Community Development to build a community where people with disabilities can lead healthy, dignified lives.”

A view of The Kelsey Cicic Center, a white and grey building with windows on a street with trees, and the neighboring San Francisco City Hall.

About The Kelsey

The Kelsey is a San Francisco–based nonprofit that co-develops accessible, affordable, inclusive multifamily housing for people with and without disabilities. With 227 units under construction or near groundbreaking in San Jose, Calif., and San Francisco—two of the nation’s most challenging housing markets—The Kelsey proves this model is buildable anywhere. In addition to developing housing and providing on-site Inclusion Concierge™ services, which promote connections among residents, The Kelsey advocates for policy changes that enable inclusive housing and provides tools and templates for others who want to build housing on The Kelsey’s model. Inspired by its late co-founder Kelsey Flynn O’Connor’s experience as a disabled advocate for access and community, The Kelsey is pioneering disability-forward housing solutions that open doors to homes and opportunities for everyone.