To tenant Jasmine Roach, her new home at Avalon Apartments in Willowbrook isn’t just a building but a lifesaver. For over a year, she had to resort to sleeping on people’s couches, floors, as well as shelters, together with her three-year-old daughter. But now they have a permanent place to rest their heads.
“The Avalon Apartments saved my daughter and me,” Roach said, noting she is deeply grateful for the free case management and guidance that she has received while living in the supportive housing complex. “This support has given me peace of mind as I continue to regain stability in my life.”
The supportive housing complex was designed specifically for low-income individuals and homeless families whose head of household has been diagnosed with a mental illness. Aside from affordable housing, providers at the Avalon provide help in services ranging from basic healthcare to psychiatric counseling.
The 1.7-acre lot, formerly four vacant and dilapidated homes that were constantly being vandalized, was purchased and transformed over the last two years by the nonprofit organization and housing developer, A Community of Friends.
The Avalon now houses 55 apartments, a community room and garden, adult and children’s recreation areas, and a health clinic. Kedren Community Health Center will provide on-site case management, mediation support, psychiatric services, crisis intervention, therapy, and substance abuse treatment, while T.H.E. Clinic will provide primary care.
“We believe that a home is the foundation from which all good things can come,” said Dora Gallo, executive director of A Community of Friends. “When one has an affordable place to live, connected to services, then one has the opportunity to begin to dream and thrive.”
Los Angeles County contributed $6 million to the $19-million project. In addition, Los Angeles County’s Housing Authority also provided tenants with rental subsidy vouchers.
“I firmly believe that bringing housing and much needed services to our constituents is one way we can set out to improve their quality of life,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “A stable and safe place to live means that families will have the ability to thrive.”