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Villa St. Joseph Construction Begins

Sisters Serve the Community by Transforming Their Motherhouse into Affordable Housing. It will be Called Villa St. Joseph

Longtime partners Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange and Mercy Housing California (MHC) celebrate the start of construction at Villa St. Joseph, a new affordable housing community that will provide 50 homes for low-income seniors aged 62 and over, including 18 homes reserved for formerly homeless senior households.

“It is with great joy that we open the door to the first steps that will lead to the birth of Villa St. Joseph! As Sisters of St. Joseph have done since our earliest days, now in collaboration with Mercy Housing, we continue to extend our mission of unity, hospitality, and welcome as we open our hearts to create a home for those in need,” said Sister Mary Beth Ingham, General Superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. “May St. Joseph our Patron, himself a builder, continue to guide the renovation efforts and may all who dwell with us be abundantly blessed.”

Located at 480 S. Batavia Street in Orange, the development will convert the three-story Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange Motherhouse from a convent into a multifamily apartment building. In addition to the 50 homes, renovations will provide a new main entrance, offices, community room, and shared laundry facilities. The site is adjacent to many neighborhood amenities, including Providence St. Joseph Hospital.

Construction begins in mid-December 2022 and will affect visitors to the southern end of the Sisters’ larger St. Joseph Center campus.  Access to the south parking lot via Batavia Street will be closed during construction.  Guests attending Mass in Sacred Heart Chapel or special events, and University of San Francisco students will be redirected to a temporary entrance and exit off La Veta Avenue via a delivery road between St. Joseph Center and Providence St. Joseph Hospital.  Visitors are requested to plan ahead, noting that the exit to La Veta will require a right turn only.  Please see the accompanying map.

“We are thrilled to honor our deep partnership with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange by transforming their historic Motherhouse into a thriving community of fifty homes in which seniors can age in health and dignity,” said MHC Vice President of Real Estate Development Ed Holder.

Along with five other communities of Catholic Sisters, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange has been a sponsoring organization of leading affordable housing nonprofit Mercy Housing since 1997. Today, MHC is the largest regional division of Mercy Housing, Inc., providing service-enriched affordable housing to more than 21,000 Californians. Once complete, Villa St. Joseph will be MHC’s fourth community in Orange County.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange led a thorough community outreach process to determine that quality, affordable housing for seniors would be the best use of their historic Motherhouse site, which was at one time home to around 60 Sisters living communally. MHC will serve as both the developer and property manager of Villa St. Joseph, as well as lead the coordination of free onsite services.

MHC will partner with the County of Orange Health Care Agency’s Adult and Older Adult Behavioral Health to provide formerly homeless residents with voluntary services tailored to individual needs, including case management, mental health services, crisis intervention, therapeutic groups, substance abuse services, and referrals to other services where needed.

Villa St. Joseph is expected to welcome its first residents in summer 2024. The community will be designed by 19six Architects, and Prevost Construction has been hired as general contractor. Funding has been provided by the City of Orange, the County of Orange, the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the California Housing Finance Agency, Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, Enterprise Communities, and Umpqua Bank.


Click below to download the press release.

click the map to view and download

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