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Long Beach, California: Anchor Place Adds Housing for Veterans and Others Experiencing Homelessness to the Century Villages at Cabrillo

Photograph of two wings of a multistory residential building with groundfloor community rooms in the foreground and a raised courtyard accessible via stairs in the middleground.
Photograph of a children’s play area framed on three sides by a multistory residential building.
Photograph of a community room with a couch in the foreground and tables in the middleground.
Photograph of Anchor Place, multistory residential building with four wings, in the foreground with the surrounding area of Long Beach, California, in the background.
Photograph from the street of a multistory residential building, with a community room in the foreground and an entrance to the building at the right edge of the photograph.


Home >Case Studies >Long Beach, California: Anchor Place Adds Housing for Veterans and Others Experiencing Homelessness to the Century Villages at Cabrillo


Long Beach, California: Anchor Place Adds Housing for Veterans and Others Experiencing Homelessness to the Century Villages at Cabrillo


In the city of Long Beach, California, the Century Villages at Cabrillo (CVC), occupying a 27-acre site where housing for the U.S. Navy once stood, provides supportive housing for more than 1,500 people who experienced or were at risk of homelessness, including veterans, Native Americans, and persons living with disabilities. In 1997, the military housing was transferred to nonprofit developer Century Housing, which has redeveloped the campus to provide short-term, transitional, and permanent housing along with community amenities. CVC offers more than just housing; a consortium of on- and offsite service providers holistically attend to the needs of residents to foster positive outcomes such as housing stability, health and wellness, and economic self-sufficiency. The most recent development at CVC is Anchor Place, 120 units of permanent supportive housing for veteran and nonveteran individuals and families previously experiencing homelessness. The building’s design emphasizes resident interaction and connections between residents and the larger community. Anchor Place earned the 2019 American Institute of Architects/HUD Secretary’s Creating Community Connection Award for its integration of supportive housing with other community resources.

Anchor Place

Located on the campus’s southern boundary, Anchor Place consists of 120 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units in a 5-story building organized into 4 wings. Seventy-five units are reserved for homeless veterans using HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers, and 18 units are reserved for homeless families using Housing for Health rental assistance from the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. All the units are reserved for households earning incomes up to 30, 40, 50, and 60 percent of the area median income. Anchor Place, unlike many of CVC’s previous phases, accommodates more than one population in the same building. According to Brian D’Andrea, senior vice president at Century Housing, residents from different populations, such as children and veterans, share the development’s spaces and programming; this “intentional neighboring” was a design objective of Anchor Place. Residents of both Anchor Place and the larger CVC campus can interact in various places in and around the building.

Walkways extending beyond the Anchor Place site invite CVC residents to enjoy the most public of what D’Andrea calls Anchor Place’s “tiers of privacy.” The walkways converge on three ground-level courtyards that separate the four wings of Anchor Place and lead to the building’s community-serving rooms, which include a common room, communal kitchen, recreation room, yoga and fitness studios, and social services meeting rooms. Also inside Anchor Place are more private community rooms and raised courtyards accessed from the building that are intended solely for Anchor Place residents.

Walking paths link the courtyards to the CVC campus’s primary east-west pedestrian axis, which leads to prominent amenities including a social hall and dedicated service centers such as a U.S.Vets career center. The development of Anchor Place also created connections to off-campus resources. A new Long Beach Transit hub was relocated adjacent to Anchor Place. Two bus routes begin and end at the hub, taking riders to employment and resources elsewhere in Long Beach. This transit connection to various facilities in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Long Beach Healthcare System is particularly important to the 700 veterans living at CVC.

Consortium of Supportive Services Benefit Residents

Numerous onsite supportive services are available for the formerly homeless veteran and family populations. CVC case managers in the building promote self-sufficiency and stability by helping adults prepare a case services plan with personal development goals. The case managers also offer skill-building classes in areas such as financial literacy. As part of the HUD-VASH voucher program, veterans at Anchor Place have access to VA case managers based in the building alongside the CVC case managers. In addition to onsite case management, veterans and families benefit from campuswide supportive services delivered through a consortium of 12 organizations located at CVC and 30 additional partners from outside the community, including universities and workforce centers. A children’s health center, an outpatient clinic for veterans, a substance abuse treatment facility, and other special-purpose facilities meet the needs of residents. D’Andrea says that intensive partnerships among these organizations have produced positive outcomes for residents, such as housing retention rates that exceed the Greater Los Angeles United Way’s standards of excellence. According to CVC’s 2020 Social Impact Report, 96 percent of the permanent supportive housing residents at CVC remained in their unit for 12 months or moved to another permanent housing unit within a year.

Financing for Anchor Place

Low-income housing tax credits accounted for most of the project’s financing, but city, county, and state sources were critical to realizing Anchor Place (table 1). California contributed $2.2 million through the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program because the community’s transit hub aligns with the program’s goal to support infill development that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The program is funded through proceeds from the state’s Cap-and-Trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through a long-term de minimis lease, Century Housing donated the land, which has a value of $6.3 million. The project also relied on the Los Angeles County Mental Health Services Act for $1.7 million in funding.

Table 1: Financing for Anchor Place at Century Villages at Cabrillo

Low-income housing tax credits


Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco Affordable Housing Program loan


City of Long Beach HOME Investment Partnerships Program loan


City of Long Beach fee waivers


County of Los Angeles Mental Health Services Act loan


CVC loan (pass through of Los Angeles County funds)


California Community Reinvestment Corporation loan


California Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program loan


Deferred developer fee


Land provided by Century Housing




Expanding Supportive Housing at CVC

Although its design and services successfully integrate it with earlier phases of CVC, Anchor Place also models new features that Century Housing intends to incorporate in future development. An updated master plan, which has been submitted to the city for adoption as a specific plan for CVC, reflects several design features of Anchor Place. The plan calls for the construction of 750 additional housing units in mixed-use buildings similar to Anchor Place, with residences above community amenities, ample space for service providers, and public areas such as the project’s ground-level courtyards. D’Andrea also points out how Anchor Place successfully mixes veterans and other populations by using design to promote active living and community interaction and create neighborly bonds. For example, children have engaged with veterans in activities such as gardening and creating gifts during the holiday season. An additional important aspect of Anchor Place is the availability of onsite VA case managers who are specially trained to attend to the complex needs of veterans transitioning from homelessness.



The contents of this article are the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or the U.S. Government.