Elk Grove Church and Developer Join Independent Living Project

Developers and a church in Elk Grove are teaming up to create affordable independent living development for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities with plans to break ground next year.

Non-profit developer AbleLight and San Francisco-based affordable housing developer-manager John Stewart Co. are planning the 84-unit Cornerstone Village project. The 4-acre project would be built at 9270 Bruceville Road on the grounds of the Light of the Valley Lutheran Church, pending city approvals. The developers are aiming to open in 2025.

Developers submitted applications for the project in mid-January and plan to meet with city planners and the Elk Grove City Council in May, project representatives said during a virtual forum earlier this week.

This is Minnesota-based AbleLight’s first California project. Four other Cornerstone Village projects are in Minnesota and Wisconsin. A quarter of the apartments in Elk Grove will be reserved for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Non-profit faith-based residential communities are “designed to unite people with developmental disabilities with other members of the community in a loving Christian environment”.

The apartments will be “focused on independence”, representatives said at the forum, using smart technology, building design and elevators to help residents with mobility and vision problems. The project leaders also plan to partner with resident service provider LifeSTEPS to offer case management, after-school programs and on-site fitness classes.

Local sponsor Light of the Valley will sell the land for the development – a mix of one-bedroom units and two- and three-bedroom apartments, according to information from the developers. John Stewart Co. has 375 affordable housing developments across California, including 26 properties in the greater Sacramento area.

Project proponents estimate that approximately 2,100 adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities live in Elk Grove, many of whom are in the city’s lowest income bracket and are largely out of the Elk Grove rental market.

The apartment mix also includes 53 units for working families and nine units for residents who were previously homeless. A property manager will also live on site.

A case manager will also work with previously homeless tenants to connect them with health, school and employment resources; while neighboring Light of the Valley will provide mentoring and other services.

Once built, the new construction will be part of a “single community” with Light of the Valley, with a public courtyard connecting the two, developers say.

“That’s what churches do,” Light of the Valley pastor Jay Reed said during the virtual forum. “We asked, ‘What if we had a community that was already there? How do we do this to include (people)? “Let’s do community well.

The town of Elk Grove has 18 affordable apartment communities with about 2,300 units, according to town officials. At least two of the communities have pacts with the city to accept tenants who were once homeless, officials said.

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Darrell Smith covers the courts and California news for The Sacramento Bee. He joined The Bee in 2006 and previously worked at newspapers in Palm Springs, Colorado Springs, Colorado and Marysville. Originally from the Sacramento Valley, Smith was born and raised at Beale Air Force Base near Marysville.

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