SHE Wins San Joaquin Valley Blueprint Award for Excellence

SHE Wins San Joaquin Valley Blueprint Award for Excellence

Posted on May 31, 2022

On May 12th, Self-Help Enterprises was awarded the 2022 San Joaquin Valley Blueprint Award of Excellence for Residential Development. This was in recognition of the recently completed Sequoia Commons, a 126-unit multi-family affordable housing development in Goshen, CA. 

Sequoia Commons serves households previously experiencing homelessness side by side with seniors and working families to create an enriched and balanced community. The project also prioritized strategic investments in transportation enhancements, environmental sustainability, and land use planning that together result in reduced vehicle miles traveled, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and greater food equity for the Tulare County community. 

The award was given during the 15th annual San Joaquin Valley Policy Conference, hosted by the Fresno Council of Governments on behalf of the eight Valley planning agencies, including San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Kern County. The Conference invites local elected officials, community development directors, and planning organizations to gather to learn about upcoming projects throughout the Valley. This includes recent transportation and housing developments.  

The San Joaquin Valley Blueprint Awards program recognizes the outstanding achievements and practices in the built environment that also reflect the Blueprint Principles. These principles are visually represented in the efficient and environmentally conscious projects throughout the San Joaquin Valley. The award nominations were solicited across the Valley focusing on existing projects in the following six categories: Residential Development, Commercial Development, Mixed Use, Downtown Revitalization, Transportation Enhancement, and Historic Revitalization.  

Sequoia Commons embraces several of the Blueprint principles. These include: 

Create a range of housing opportunities and choices 

Sequoia Commons provides one, two, and three-bedroom apartments to households with incomes at or below 50% of Area Median Income (AMI).  The project also provides housing opportunities for people experiencing homelessness, with 18 units set aside for permanent supportive housing. 


Mix of Land Uses 

The two phases of Sequoia Commons comprise 5.69 acres of a larger, planned mixed use residential and commercial development area that

will include the construction of 86 mutual self-help single family homes (an additional 16.94 acres) and a proposed grocery store development (5.33 acres). Also included is Neighborhood Village (6 acres), a 52-unit permanent supportive housing project comprised of manufactured homes for people experiencing homelessness that will be managed by local nonprofit organization Salt + Light Works. 

Create walkable and bikeable neighborhoods 

As part of the project, SHE added approximately 2,880 linear feet of sidewalks and bike lanes along Riggin Street, Road 76, and interior Street F.  When the planned Neighborhood Village, 86 mutual self-help single-family homes, and grocery store are developed, sidewalks and bike lanes will connect to these areas and the existing nearby health clinic, neighborhoods and parks. 

Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration 

Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG) provided Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds which allowed the first phase of development to be competitive and ultimately be awarded Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) funding. This funding led to collaboration on best active transportation elements to be included in conjunction with the affordable housing.

SHE also worked with the Kings-Tulare Homeless Alliance (KTHA) to design its Permanent Supportive Housing approach at Sequoia Commons and designate 18 units for individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Residents can choose to receive case management and other supportive services through Tulare County Mental Health or local community organizations and can stay as long as they need housing and comply with the lease agreement. 

Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place 

Sequoia Commons was designed with ample green space, a vibrant on-site community center, and features that make it feel like home. SHE named the community building to honor the legacy of Graciela Martinez, a beloved community advocate who spent a lifetime advocating on behalf of farmworkers and low-income people of the San Joaquin Valley, including many years serving on SHE’s Board of Directors. 

Provide a variety of transportation choices 

With AHSC funding, SHE developed a transit ridership program with Tulare County Area Transit through which SHE purchases transit passes from the County and provides them free of charge to the low-income, working families residing at Sequoia Commons.  SHE also implemented a vanpool program through a partnership with California Vanpool Authority, allowing residents without vehicles, or those who wish to save money on transportation, to travel to work together. 

Transportation infrastructure improvements included the construction of sidewalks and bike lanes around the project, adding a traffic signal at Road 76, and constructing a new and improved bus stop adjacent to the development. 

Support actions that encourage environmental resource management 

The project has been designed with passive solar design to maximize natural heating and cooling. Solar PV provides sustainable electricity to common areas and residents’ apartments and makes the project grid neutral zero-net energy. 

A variety of water conservation measures have been included, such as low water use fixtures and the use of drought-tolerant plants in the landscape design. These elements combined helped Phases I and II achieve Green Point Rated Gold and Silver, respectively. 

The robust transportation support at Sequoia Commons encourages transit and vanpool use, reducing emissions. 

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