Multifamily Affordable Supportive Housing Project Attaining Highest Green Design and Construction Standards Opens in Salinas, California

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Sunflower Gardens project developed by Interim Inc., designed by Wald, Ruhnke & Dost Architects, and built by Barry Swenson Builder

Monterey County’s first multifamily affordable supportive housing project built to the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest efficiency standards is opening this month in Salinas. The project is also the first in California to be built from the ground up with State Mental Health Services Act Housing Program funds (Prop.63).

Sunflower Gardens, the latest project developed by Interim Inc., a Monterey County-based agency that provides an extensive continuum of services and affordable supportive housing for adults with mental illness, is a four-building complex that provides 18 dwelling units, communal facilities and support services for 23 adults who are homeless or at-risk of being homeless. Interim expects Sunflower Gardens to be the first affordable supportive housing project in Monterey County to achieve Platinum certification in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes category (application pending). LEED for Homes certification is determined by the U.S. Green Building Council, which rates buildings for energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction, and indoor air quality using a ranking system that sets Platinum certification at the highest level.

“We are committed to providing housing and services that help our clients lead productive and fulfilling lives. Sunflower Gardens takes this goal one step further through strong support services, tenant employment opportunities, and green living,” said Barbara Mitchell, Executive Director of Interim Inc. “The tile mosaics installed on the exterior of Sunflower Gardens really represent those values. We supported and facilitated the work of homeless artists as they recycled materials to create something beautiful out of something broken.”

The mosaics were created through a collaboration between Interim’s Breakthrough H’Art program, a client-run artists group, and Dorothy’s Place, a local soup kitchen and shelter operated by the Franciscan Workers of Junipero Serra.

Interim Inc. worked with Wald, Ruhnke & Dost Architects (WR&D) on plans for this project. WR&D, with offices in Monterey and Santa Cruz, incorporates sustainable elements into all designs, and is dedicated to creating high-performance buildings with healthy environments that enhance productivity and well-being.

“The team at Interim Inc. presented us with a meaningful opportunity to work with the Sunflower Gardens client population, receive input, and create a project that best serves their needs. This project is designed to serve the tenants as well as the environment, and make a positive impact on the larger community,” said Henry Ruhnke, Principal, Wald, Ruhnke & Dost Architects.

Barry Swenson Builder worked closely with Interim Inc. and WR&D to help make this project’s vision a reality. The result is one that incorporates: optimal solar exposure; high-efficiency windows and insulation, lighting, appliances, roofing, solar thermal heating, photovoltaic electric panels, and water management system; and, sustainable landscaping. For more information on Sunflower Gardens, visit

About Interim Inc.
Interim Inc., a private, non-profit, public-benefit agency, is Monterey County’s only provider of affordable supportive housing for adults with mental and emotional illnesses. Since 1975, Interim has provided a unique combination of affordable housing, residential treatment, mental health services, and supported education and employment services offering people with mental illness hope for wellness and recovery. Interim’s 15 programs support more than 1,700 clients each year helping them to create long-term, sustainable changes in their lives. For more information, visit

About WR&D
Wald, Ruhnke & Dost Architects, LLP is a full-service architectural firm with an extensive portfolio of commercial, healthcare, education, public works, residential, construction management, and commercial interior design projects developed over more than 45 years. WRD’s creativity, design experience, service and client referrals have made the company one of the largest firms on California’s Central Coast. For more information, visit

About Barry Swenson Builder
Green Valley Corporation DBA Barry Swenson Builder is dedicated to providing the highest quality service while maintaining a cost-effective approach for a variety of project types including: Multi-Family Residential, Office, Hospitality, Medical, Senior Living, Institutional Work, Industrial, R&D, Retail, Mixed-Use, Historical Rehabilitation and School/Campus Facilities. For more information, visit

Media Inquiries

Interim, Inc.
Susan Alnes
831.646.2220, Ext. 306

Wald, Ruhnke & Dost Architects
Kelley Carpenter

Barry Swenson Builder
Jesse L. Nickell III

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Kelley Carpenter
Wald, Ruhnke & Dost Architects
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