Skip to main content
American Planning Association - Opportunity and Empowerment

The HUD Secretary's Opportunity & Empowerment Award honors excellence in community planning that has led to measurable benefits in terms of increased economic development, employment, education, or housing choice and mobility for low- and moderate-income residents. The award stresses tangible results and recognizes the planning discipline as an important community resource. It emphasizes how creative housing, economic development, and private investments are used in, or in tandem with, a comprehensive community development plan.

American Planning Association - Opportunity and Empowerment


Sherwood Village Senior Apartments

Salinas, California

Originally an abandoned motel that was a haven for crime, Sherwood Village transformed the property into an affordable housing development for seniors, who participated in each step of the planning and development process. To meet the goal of allowing residents to peacefully age in place in a noninstitutional setting, all of the 124 apartments have wheelchair access, roll-in showers, adjustable kitchen sinks and stoves, and modern bathrooms. Onsite services include a community room with space for recreation; a library; lounging; a nonprofit clinic that offers health screenings; and counseling, job training, and resident activities from Alliance on Aging. Sherwood Village is a walkable community with access to a grocery store, coffee shop, restaurants, a park, and a neighborhood pool without the need for a car. Bus stops also link the apartments to the city of Salinas, hospitals, jobs, and other amenities.

Transformed in partnership between nonprofit developer CHISPA, Inc. and the Salinas City Council, the development incorporated sustainable building practices. Seventy-five percent of the original structure was reused, and the developer installed innovative heating and air conditioning systems, dual flush toilets, solar tubes that bring natural light into the units, ENERGY STAR® appliances, and solar panels to reduce electricity load and green house gas generation. The project was completed with funds from the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, HOME, and Community Development Block Grant programs, as well as a loan from CHISPA. The city amended zoning code, allowing a generous density bonus, and relaxed parking and open space requirements.