Mercy Housing

By on Oct 1, 2013 in People

mom and sonMercy Housing has found the key ingredients to a successful affordable housing community. Trendsetting design, effective public programing, and soulful community involvement have been combined to create award-winning communities that are residents’ pride.

For more than 30 years, Yardi client Mercy Housing has offered program-enriched affordable housing for families, seniors, veterans, those with special needs, and the medically underserved. The organization is one of America’s largest affordable housing firms with over 260 communities across 43 states.  To date, nearly 150,000 people benefit from the organization’s efforts.

Though its operations are vast, Mercy Housing has managed to keep its focus on what matters most: providing families with homes that they can be proud of in a nurturing environment.


Savannah Gardens

Savannah Gardens

Mercy Housing is stylish. The organization has stepped away from the block-style developments of the past. Rather, recent developments ride the latest trends in sustainability and style. Many of Mercy Housing’s properties have achieved LEED and other environmental certifications. Recent projects represent a new wave of determination towards affordable living that is sustainable, beautiful, and long-lasting.

Savannah Gardens, located in the city’s historic district, is a prime example of Mercy Housing’s approach to affordable developments. The organization redeveloped a dilapidated 44 acre site to present the city with economical, eco-friendly housing. This smoke-free community provides residents with a healthy living option that has easy access to a large central park, health center, popular shops, and a variety of events and services. By meeting rigorous standards for energy efficiency and sustainability, Savannah Gardens received the EarthCraft Coastal Community seal.

10th & Mission Family Housing of San Francisco received the Overall Winner of the Affordable Housing Finance Reader’s Choice Award upon its completion in 2010. With units of up to four bedrooms, it is an ideal choice for families in the Mid-Market neighborhood. Residents enjoy an active lifestyle with plenty of opportunities for enrichment and socializing. 10th & Mission possesses a 5,000-square-foot youth and family center, after school programs, resident gatherings, and an innovative car-share program.

Mercy Housing will soon add six more properties to its portfolio. Low-income seniors in San Francisco will have housing options near Golden Gate Avenue. The nine story development broke ground in April. Seattle families can look forward to the opening of Emerald City Commons, a mixed-use development that offers youth and adult educational classes, employment assistance, and family events. Residents can also participate in affordable fitness programs that include provisional workout spaces for Muslim women and others who are in need of privacy.

Additional projects are slated throughout California, Georgia, and Illinois.

Public Programming & Community Involvement

To enhance the resident experience, Mercy Housing maintains four areas of public programing: economic development, education, community, health and wellness. Residents are encouraged to participate in ongoing programs for financial education, literacy, health, and goal setting among others. After thorough evaluations of best practices, the programs are tweaked to meet each community’s specific needs. The organization has also established tenant leadership groups that create a sense of pride, accountability, and stability within communities.

10th & Mission 2

10th & Mission

Gail Bransteitter, National Communications Manager for Mercy Housing, believes that the programs form the crux of community success. We try to get our residents involved and support them in all areas of their lives to help them reach their full potential,” she says. Bransteitter is especially proud of the organization’s youth programs. “I really love some of our after school programing that we do with our younger residents. It’s great to see the engagement of our kids, how active they are, and how they use those programs to develop. It’s interesting to see them become a part of the larger community,” says Bransteitter.

The programs also help Mercy Housing shine amongst other affordable firms.  Independent Charities of America ranked Mercy Housing as one of its Best in America. Charity Navigator awarded four stars, its highest possible rating. Bransteitter attributes the awards to the company’s resident services, “The point of differentiation would be our resident services programing and the quality of our property management staff,” Bransteitter says. “The work that we do in the field shows that we are really trying to make a lasting impact on the communities that we serve.”

Continuing the Effort

The staff and volunteers of Mercy Housing aren’t content to stop with accolades. The organization has risen as a leader in public housing advocacy. By joining the Home Matters program, the Mercy Housing aims to promote the importance of affordable communities while developing more robust programs for those in need. “I think it’s important for us to be leaders in the affordable housing industry and to be a voice that advocates more affordable housing because there is such a huge gap between the supply and the demand,” explains Bransteitter. “The need continues to grow. We have to partner with other organizations around the country to continue to do our best to advocate the building of new housing and to preserve affordable housing.”gail

Community support also carries significant weight with city planners. While financial donations and volunteering have their place, Bransteitter believes it is vital to request and support public housing initiatives in your neighborhood. “Advocating for affordable housing in communities is really important,” Bransteitter explains. “Public support keeps us afloat.” Many towns hold antiquated views of affordable housing that ultimately hold communities back. Advocating for today’s public housing—which is chic, sustainable, and program-focused—can be an enhancement for any location.