Santa Cruz County and MidPen Housing Celebrate Grand Opening of 57 Affordable Homes at Bienestar Plaza

Bienestar Plaza
Bienestar Plaza provides 57 new, affordable homes for Live Oak families and residents with supportive housing needs, including people who have experienced homelessness. The one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments are affordable for people earning 30%-80% of Area Median Income (currently $29,200-$111,500, depending on family size).

Community partners and public- and private-sector stakeholders gathered to celebrate the grand opening of Bienestar Plaza Apartments, a development of MidPen Housing.

Resident amenities include a community room with kitchen, a learning center, a multipurpose meeting room, a central courtyard with BBQs and play structures, and a community garden with Native artwork that honors the earliest stewards of the land.

Bienestar Plaza is the final phase of an innovative campus that delivers health and housing in one location, achieved through a partnership of MidPen, Santa Cruz County, Dientes Community Dental Care, and Santa Cruz Community Health. The new 20,000 square foot community health center and 11-chair dental clinic, which opened in 2022, provide medical, behavioral health, and specialty care, with a focus on pediatric care for clients at the lowest income levels. The clinics together serve more than 12,000 patients, including MidPen residents, who now have next-door access to low-cost medical and dental care.

“Housing is healthcare, and the combination of safe, affordable homes and access to high-quality healthcare services helps people thrive,” said Matthew O. Franklin, President and CEO of MidPen Housing. “We applaud the County and our partners for their vision and commitment to a true community development that serves working families and people with the greatest need.”

“I’m very excited that these units are opening today,” said Supervisor Manu Koenig, Santa Cruz County District 1. “Our community needs them. This model of combining housing and health care holds a lot of promise and the County is looking at more opportunities like this.”

Financing for the development was provided through both public and private sources including the County of Santa Cruz, the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz, the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, the California Department of Housing and Community Development, Wells Fargo, the California Community Reinvestment Corporation, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, Central California Alliance for Health, and Central Coast Community Energy.

“Central California Alliance for Health (the Alliance) is proud to support the construction of MidPen Housing’s Bienestar Plaza through a grant from our Medi-Cal Capacity Grant Program,” said Michael Schrader, Chief Executive Officer at the Alliance. “This development recognizes that housing is one of the most important social determinants of health that directly impacts an individual’s health outcomes. By providing supportive housing co-located with high-quality healthcare services, Bienestar Plaza empowers our members to achieve positive health outcomes and remain stably housed.”