Big Wave Group Announces $12.5M Construction Financing for Lifelong Housing for 40 Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

With autism and other disabilities on the rise, this investment underscores community support of the Big Wave Group non-profit’s mission to build lifelong housing for 40 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in San Mateo County

HALF MOON BAY, CA (July 2023) – Big Wave Group has officially announced the closing of up to $12.5 million in construction financing from the Bay Area office of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a nationwide organization specializing in non-profit community development for underserved communities. Big Wave Group plans to utilize the LISC funds to complete the construction of a $30 million residence for adults with IDD to help address the severe housing crisis in San Mateo County. Additional funding will be supplied by the sale of residential memberships via a community housing cooperative, grants and private donations.

Big Wave community residence for adults with special needs

Swenson Builders, a leading Northern California developer and general contractor based in San Jose, CA, has been selected to build the 50,000-square-foot two-story residence and 10,000-square-foot courtyard.  Swenson will provide labor and materials and manage building construction which is anticipated to begin later this year and take approximately 18 months. The project will be located on 6.9 acres of donated land in Half Moon Bay, California, adjacent to the existing five-acre Big Wave Farm, which is already an educational and skills-development hub for the Bay Area special needs community.

“We have a massive housing supply problem in the Bay Area and it’s more extreme for adults with disabilities,” said Sally Smyth, Senior Community Development Underwriter for LISC Bay Area. “The Big Wave project will be transformational for the IDD community and help address the housing struggles and inequities that this population faces as they enter adulthood and age.” LISC utilized money within the Partnership for the Bay’s Future to provide the financing.

Big Wave community residence for adults with special needs

“I want my vulnerable 34-year-old special-needs daughter to have a lifelong place to live when I’m no longer here”, said Jeff Peck, Big Wave founder, who began the project over 20 years ago. “Like all adults, she wants to live in a community of her peers, where she is safe and yet has independence and the opportunity to thrive. There are few other choices for our adult kids, so failure is not an option.”

The 36-unit residential building will provide housing for 40 adults with IDD, including studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom apartments; an outdoor courtyard; indoor common areas; a commercial kitchen that will be leased to the non-profit organization One Step Beyond, Inc. (OSBI) for the operation of a culinary academy for IDD adults; commercial space expected to house a day program for IDD adults, and several businesses that may provide potential employment opportunities to residents.

Big Wave Project rendering of housing project for adults with special needs in Princeton, California

Big Wave Project map in Princeton, CaliforniaApproximately 629,000 people in California have IDD, such as autism, Down syndrome or cerebral palsy, according to the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities, and this population is growing rapidly. According to the Autism Society, the autism prevalence rate has been consistently increasing since 2000 from one in 150 to one in 36. Most adults with IDD are extremely low income, living on minimum wage or fixed SSI/SSP incomes that are near or below the poverty level.

Today more than 80% of people with IDD live in a family home with few options when their caregivers (typically family members) age and pass away. When completed, this project will dramatically impact the amount of available housing for adults with IDD, providing opportunities for social and educational enrichment, community engagement and access to employment skills and training.

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