Last updated: June 2024

Many Santa Cruz Local readers have asked how to apply for below-market-rate rentals in new and upcoming housing projects.

There are some project-specific waitlists from nonprofit developers such as MidPen Housing, Eden Housing and others, but many projects under construction will draw tenants from waitlists maintained by the County of Santa Cruz and the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz.

Editor’s note: If you’re interested in housing, contact the organizations on this page. Santa Cruz Local is a news organization and does not handle housing applications or waitlists. The list is not exhaustive and more projects are expected to be added.  

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Housing projects under construction

SANTA CRUZ

Pacific Station South, 800 block of Pacific Avenue

Project: Pacific Station South is expected to have 69 affordable units that include studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units above ground-floor commercial space. Tenant occupancy is expected to begin in the second half of 2024.

Waitlist contacts: A waitlist for many of the units opened April 17, 2024. To join it, email [email protected], call 707-708-3260 or go to 324 Front St., Suite 212, Santa Cruz.

Housing Authority waitlist: Separate from that waitlist, 47 other units will be filled from the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz’s Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) waitlist, according to the housing authority. The waitlist is closed, and eligible households will be mailed a letter from the housing authority.

Construction continues in June 2024 on a seven-story building with 69 affordable housing units at Pacific Station South. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local)

Pacific Station North, 800 block of Pacific Avenue

Project: Pacific Station North is a seven-story building with 128 affordable units with offices, stores and a new Santa Cruz Metro office. Construction started in spring 2024 and is anticipated to finish in February 2026. 

Interest list contact: Eden Housing has an interest list for prospective tenants on its website. To sign up, fill out your name and contact information and select “Pacific Station North Apartments” from the drop down under “Community.”

A rendering of Pacific Station North, an affordable housing project in Downtown Santa Cruz.

Ground-floor shops are included in plans for Pacific Station North. (First Community Housing)

314 Jessie St. affordable supportive housing

Project: Fifty units of supportive housing for people with disabilities remain under construction in June 2024 and are expected to finish in early 2025, said Lyn Hikida, a spokesperson for MidPen Housing.

Waitlist status: Waitlists are closed and tenants will be referred from the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz and from the county’s Smart Path assessment system for homeless and formerly homeless residents, Hikida said. Thirteen households relocated in the building’s redevelopment also will be offered space in the new complex, Hikida said.

A photo showing the apartment complex at 314 Jessie St. under construction, with a white work truck parked in front.

A four-story, 50-unit apartment complex is under construction at 314 Jessie St. in Santa Cruz in June 2024. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local)

415 Natural Bridges Drive apartments

Project: Twenty studios were under construction in June 2024 and are expected to finish in fall 2024. The land is owned by the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz. 

Waitlist status: Tenants will be chosen from the housing authority’s Housing Choice (Section 8) voucher holders. The Housing Choice voucher waitlist remained closed as of June 2024 and it’s not clear when it will reopen, said Rayne Perez, principal management analyst for the housing authority. 

415 Natural Bridges Drive is seen on a clear blue-sky day.

Twenty studio apartments are under construction at 415 Natural Bridges Drive in Santa Cruz in June 2024. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local)

APTOS

Aptos Village Phase 2

Project: Twenty-nine homes were under construction next to 141 Aptos Village Way in Aptos in June 2024. Construction is expected to finish in spring 2025. Twenty-four of the homes are expected to be sold at market rate and five homes will be sold or rented below market rate, county staff said.

Waitlist contacts: The developer, Swenson, is expected to decide by November 2024 whether the units will be offered for sale or for rent, said Santa Cruz County spokesperson Jason Hoppin. If the units are listed for sale, county staff plan to announce the available homes on the county website and hold a drawing to select the buyers.

Interest list contacts: Sign up for the interest list on the project’s website. Contact [email protected] for questions or comments on the project.

Work continues on Aptos Village Phase 2 in March 2024. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local file)

CAPITOLA

4401 Capitola Road, The Bluffs at 44th

Project: Thirty-five affordable homes and one manager’s unit started construction in April 2024 and are expected to finish in late 2025. The developer is San Diego-based CRP Affordable Housing & Community Development.

Interest list contacts: An interest list for 10 units is expected to open in early 2025. The developer’s general email is [email protected] and some project information is on its website.

Tenants in 25 units will come from the housing authority’s Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) waitlist, which is closed. 

A 36-unit housing project at 4401 Capitola Road is due to open in late 2025. (Studio T-Sq. Inc.)

SCOTTS VALLEY

Bay Village subdivision

Project: Eight houses and two duplexes are proposed on a vacant lot between MacDorsa Park and the Scotts Valley Fire Department on Erba Lane, according to a 2024 application. 

Interest list contact: Applications for affordable housing in Scotts Valley are administered through a third party called Housekeys. Residents can submit a profile and find more information on the Housekeys website

The Bay Village Subdivision in Scotts Valley is expected to include eight houses and two duplexes. (David B. Zulim Inc.)

SOQUEL 

2838 Park Ave., Soquel, Park Haven Project Homekey housing 

Project: Construction started in October 2022 on 35 permanent supportive housing units and one manager’s unit. The project is expected to finish in the first quarter of 2025 with tenants due in spring 2025. The project aims to prevent homelessness among veterans and young adults who aged out of the foster-care system. 

Tenant placement: Tenants in 17 units will be referred through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Tenants in 14 units will be placed through family unification vouchers for transition-age youth through the County of Santa Cruz’s Human Services Department. Four units will be for homeless families with minor children from the housing authority’s Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) waitlist. That waitlist is closed.

Thirty-five permanent supportive housing units are expected to open at 2838 Park Ave., Soquel in spring 2025. (Novin Development)

WATSONVILLE

141 Miles Lane, Sparrow Terrace affordable housing project

Project: A 72-unit affordable housing project with supportive services remained under construction in June 2024 and is expected to finish in late summer 2024, said Lyn Hikida, a spokesperson for MidPen Housing. It includes studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom homes.

Interest list contact:  Prospective tenants can fill out a form on MidPen’s website to be notified when applications will be accepted.

Seventy-two homes are under construction on Miles Lane in Watsonville in June 2024. (Marcello Hutchinson-Trujillo — Santa Cruz Local)

Recently completed housing projects

1520 Capitola Road, Bienestar Plaza

Project: Fifty-seven below-market-rate rentals opened in 2023. 

Waitlist: The MidPen waitlist for the project is closed, but the leasing office can be reached at (831) 318-6061 or [email protected].

Fifty-seven units of affordable housing opened on the 1500 block of Capitola Road in 2023. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local file)

1515 Brewington Ave., Cienega Heights affordable housing

Project: An 80-unit affordable housing complex finished construction in 2024.

Waitlist: The MidPen waitlist for the project is closed, but the leasing office can be reached at (831) 707-2130 or [email protected].

Eighty new homes finished construction in 2024 on Brewington Avenue in Watsonville. (MidPen Housing)

Housing projects due after 2025

Downtown Santa Cruz library, affordable housing and parking garage at Cedar and Cathcart streets

Project: Up to 125 affordable housing units are anticipated. Construction is expected to start in the first quarter of 2025 and finish in 2027, city staff said.

Interest list contact: Eden Housing has an interest list signup for prospective tenants on its website.

Up to 125 units of affordable housing are anticipated in the Downtown Santa Cruz library project. (Jayson Architecture)

900 High St., Santa Cruz, Peace Village housing complex at Peace United Church of Christ

Project: A 40-unit complex with nine affordable units has been approved on church property at 900 High St. Construction isn’t expected until mid-2025 at the earliest, said Jim Weller, a project leader.

Waitlist: There is no public waitlist. Tenancy priority is expected to be given to members of the church and others chosen by the church, but that may change in time, Weller said in June 2024.

Leaders of Peace United Church of Christ in Santa Cruz hope to start construction on a rental housing project in 2025. (Workbench)

558 Main St., Watsonville, The Residence at 558 Main

Project: Fifty new homes have been approved at 558 Main St., but construction has not started as of June 2024. Construction is expected to finish in summer 2025, a developer representative said in June.

Waitlist: Forty of the units are expected to be market rate and 10 units are expected to be rented below market rate. Tenants for the 10 affordable units are expected to come from the housing authority’s Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) waitlist that is closed.

A four-story housing project is planned at 558 Main St., Watsonville. (Pacific Coast Development)

Who is eligible for affordable housing?

Each affordable housing project has different eligibility requirements that include maximum household income and often additional requirements. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and California authorities set income limits for affordable housing annually. Income limits are based on the total household income before taxes. 

Each housing project – or even units within a project – may base eligibility on income limits set by separate authorities. Occasionally, a project will use a percentage of the Federal Poverty Level as a threshold for eligibility. 

As a general guide, the area median income for Santa Cruz County for 2024 and income thresholds set by the California Department of Housing and Community Development are shown below:

Household size 1 person 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Area median income (AMI) $92,950 $106,250 $119,500 $132,800 $143,400 $154,050 $164,650 $175,300
60% of AMI $55,770 $63,750 $71,700 $79,680 $86,040 $92,430 $98,790 $105,180
50% of AMI $46,475 $53,125 $59,750 $66,400 $71,700 $77,025 $82,325 $87,650
40% of AMI $37,180 $42,500 $47,800 $53,120 $57,360 $61,620 $65,860 $70,120
30% of AMI $27,885 $31,875 $35,850 $39,840 $43,020 $46,215 $49,395 $52,590

For example, if you live with your spouse, one child and your parents, your household has five people. If the combined income of your household of five people was $80,000 before taxes, your household made less than 60% of the area median income for Santa Cruz County ($86,040). If a project uses income limits set by the California Department of Housing and Community Development and units are for households making less than 60% of area median income, your household may be eligible to apply for units in that project.

Many affordable housing units have additional eligibility requirements. Units could be reserved for people who are:

  • Seniors.
  • Disabled.
  • Veterans.
  • Homeless or formerly homeless.
  • Farmworkers.
  • Current residents of the city or county.

Some affordable housing projects only accept people referred by a partner organization or from the county housing authority’s waitlist.

Have a question about affordable housing or waitlists? Know of other lists? Email [email protected].

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