Breaking Ground on Hundreds of Affordable Apartments

With four groundbreakings for 304 units over ten days, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and partners in the public and private sectors accelerated the pace of building affordable apartments in Los Angeles County’s Second District.

On April 8, the Supervisor joined Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson to break ground on St. Andrews Bridge Housing in South LA with beds for 100 people experiencing homelessness. It will also offer supportive services to help them transition into permanent places to live.

“Thanks to the services provided at this site, about 100 women and men who currently sleep on the streets of South LA will be put on a path to stable and supportive housing,” Supervisor Ridley Thomas said. “This is Measure H at work and public-private partnership at its best, bringing Everyone In and transforming lives.”

Measure H, a ¼-cent sales tax approved by voters in March 2017, is projected to generate approximately $355 million a year for 10 years to fight homelessness. The five-year goal is to provide permanent housing for 45,000 families and individuals while preventing homelessness for 30,000 others.

Also on April 8, the Supervisor broke ground on Vermont Corridor Apartments, 72-unit affordable apartment complex in Koreatown with a feature that local residents have long been clamoring for – a community center and YMCA. The Vermont Corridor Apartments will provide affordable apartments for seniors and other vulnerable members of the community, as well as a 12,500 square-foot YMCA. Several of the units will come with supportive services and subsidized rents for residents who have experienced homelessness.

On April 11, the Supervisor and Councilmember Curren Price led the  groundbreaking of Residences on Main in South LA. A joint venture between LA Family Housing and the Coalition for Responsible Community Development, it will provide 50 affordable apartments, half for chronically homeless youth transitioning out of the foster care system, and the other half for families experiencing homelessness.

On April 17, the Supervisor broke ground on the Stanford Avenue Apartments in West Rancho Dominguez. Developed by Hollywood Community Housing Corporation and designed by Shelter LLP, it will provide permanent homes for 30 low-income families and 53 homeless families who will receive supportive services through Measure H and Section 8 rental subsidies.

“There is no better way to address our homeless crisis than by providing high quality affordable and supportive housing,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “Groundbreakings are good. But grand openings are even better.  We look forward to offering these new units in short order.”

Affordable Apartments Coming to West Rancho Dominguez

Stanford Avenue Apartments rendering courtesy of the architect, Shelter LLP.

Dozens of families will be homeless no more as construction gets under way on a beautiful apartment complex in West Rancho Dominguez, slated to open in the summer of 2020.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas led the ceremonial  groundbreaking for the Stanford Avenue Apartments. Developed by Hollywood Community Housing Corporation and designed by Shelter LLP, it will provide permanent homes for 30 low-income families and 53 homeless families who will receive supportive services through Measure H and Section 8 rental subsidies.

Amenities will include multiple community rooms including a ground floor clubhouse, computer lab, a meeting room for supportive services, an outdoor courtyard and gardening space. The side yard will include citrus trees and raised planter beds for gardening.

Left to Right: Hollywood Community Housing Board Member & Actor Glynn Turman, CDC/HACoLA Executive Director Monique King-Viehland, and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Photo by Diandra Jay / Board of Supervisors

“There is no better way to address our homeless crisis than by providing high quality affordable and supportive housing,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “Stanford Avenue Apartments represents the rebirth of a lot that had been vacant for decades. Besides transforming the lives of the 85 individuals and their families who will call it home, this development will benefit the West Rancho Dominguez neighborhood.”

“Throughout our 30-year history, the staff and board of Hollywood Community Housing have worked tirelessly to create quality affordable housing that has a positive impact, both physically and socially, on the neighborhoods where our properties are located,” said Hollywood Community Housing  executive director Sarah Letts. “We also strive to transform lives by providing services and access to resources that improve the quality of life for our residents. Many of the services at Stanford Avenue Apartments will be funded by the County’s Measure H and we are grateful to the Board of Supervisors for their leadership and unwavering determination to address the affordable housing and homelessness crisis.”

Congresswoman  Nanette Diaz Barragán (44th District) also attended the groundbreaking, along with representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Community Development Commission/Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, and Wells Fargo Bank, all of which contributed to the project.

“Wells Fargo is committed to providing financial solutions that support the development of affordable housing in areas where there are the biggest needs,” said Tim McCann, Senior Vice President in Wells Fargo’s Community Lending and Investment group. “The need for housing for formerly homeless households and low-income households is particularly acute in Los Angeles, and we’re proud to support Hollywood Community Housing Corporation’s development of this project with both equity and debt financing as Stanford Avenue Apartments will provide housing, along with a unique array of supportive services, for some of LA’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Housing Works will provide supportive services at the site, with funding from the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Tenant referrals will come through the County’s Coordinated Entry System and HOPICS. About five dozen apartment units will receive rental subsidies through CDC/HACoLA, allowing their tenants to pay only a third of their income towards rent.

Applications will be available in 2020. For updates, call (866) 563-7062.

Groundbreaking for Stanford Avenue Apartments. Photo by Diandra Jay / Board of Supervisors

 

 

 

 

Fox 11 News IN DEPTH on Black Homelessness

LOS ANGELES (FOX 11) — FOX 11 News IN DEPTH with Hal Eisner interviewed Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, LAHSA Ad Hoc Committee Chair Jacqueline Waggoner, and Select Committee on L.A. County Homelessness Chair Assemblymember Miguel Santiago about a groundbreaking new report by LAHSA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Black People Experiencing Homelessness. The report sheds light on why Black people make up 9% of the population of LA County, but more than one-third of its population experiencing homelessness, and puts forth a broad set of targeted recommendations to reverse this injustice.


SEGMENT ONE: Black Homelessness Stats and Impact

In this segment, LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Jacqueline Waggoner from LA Homeless Services Authority discuss the study showing a disproportionate amount of black homelessness in the county and concerns. Also, looking at this from a state perspective Assemblyman Miguel Santiago weighing in from Sacramento.


SEGMENT TWO: Black Homelessness Fixes

We continue with Ridley-Thomas and Waggoner on how to attack the problem which has its roots in “institutional racism” and the housing crisis we have been facing in LA County for some time now.

All segments published courtesy of FOX 11 News IN DEPTH with Hal Eisner.

Thinking Outside the Box to Address Homelessness

The Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative announced the winners of the first-ever Housing Innovation Challenge, a call for proposals that has awarded $4.5 million in Measure H funding for game-changing creative and scalable permanent housing solutions for those experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County. The Housing Innovation Challenge has made four awards at the $1 million level and one at the $500,000 level for faster, cost-effective construction/rehabilitation and/or creative finance models to produce permanent housing for the County’s most vulnerable residents.

Housing Innovation Challenge Winner United Dwelling depicts garage conversion rendering.

At a time of heightened collaboration in the region, this effort was designed to activate stakeholders and creative strategists across the region to contribute sustainable solutions to homelessness. The Challenge received more than 50 proposals, which were evaluated by a panel of experts in urban planning, real estate development, affordable housing and architecture. Each awarded project will result in the production of permanent housing for homeless families or individuals in Los Angeles County.

“Everyone who calls Los Angeles home should live in communities that afford them dignity and worth,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “These novel yet practical solutions will allow the County and its private sector partners to scale up compassion and innovation in a thoughtful manner. This is truly Measure H at work!”

Housing Innovation Challenge Winner “Restore Neighborhoods Los Angeles” depicts accessible units with equity participation from neighbors in South LA.

The funded projects are:

  • Brooks + Scarpa Architects, Inc. – NEST: A Prefab Modular, Sustainable Kit of Parts that can be assembled on any typical 50 x 150 parcel ($1 million)
  • Flyaway Homes, LLC – Modular Permanent Supportive Housing Communities, to scale their model of leveraging private equity to develop supportive housing faster and at ¼ the cost per person ($1 million)
  • LifeArk, SPC – LifeArk Micro-Communities, a kit-of-parts building system that is developable on any lot size or shape ($1 million)
  • United Dwelling – Detached Garage Conversion into Affordable Studios, for its institutional development of beautifully-designed garage-converted Accessory Dwelling Units ($ 1 million)
  • Restore Neighborhoods Los Angeles – South LA Bungalow Project for its neighborhood shared equity model for accessible units built by-right in a traditional bungalow style courtyard ($500,000)

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas shows off the three winning projects that will be built in the Second District of Los Angeles County.

“The Challenge was issued at a critical juncture in the Countywide movement to combat and prevent homelessness,” said Phil Ansell, Director, L.A. County Homeless Initiative. “While our collective efforts are moving in the right direction, this was a unique opportunity to solicit new approaches and continue to advance our efforts to help people move from homelessness to housing.”

Three of the winners –Flyaway Homes, United Dwelling, and Restore Neighborhoods — plan to implement projects in the County’s Second District. Meanwhile, another winner, Brooks + Scarpa Architects, is headquartered in the Second District.

To view the winning submissions and honorable mentions, visit housinginnovationchallenge.com.

 

Winners of the Housing Innovation Challenge join Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and L.A. County Homeless Initiative Director Phil Ansell. All photos by Dave Franco / Board of Supervisors

Making Sure Everyone Counts

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined more than 7,000 volunteers who fanned out across Los Angeles County over three nights for the 2019 Homeless Count, a federally mandated annual census to guide programs and services where most needed.

At a press conference, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas noted the results of last year’s Count showed a decline for the first time in four years, and he stressed the importance of sustaining that momentum.

“Thanks to Measure H, our public and nonprofit partners are on track to house 45,000 men, women and children over a period of five years,” he said. “We have already collectively housed almost 10,000 men, women and children — and that’s just over the last 15 months. Each of us has a part to play in helping resolve this humanitarian crisis, whether by gathering data during the Count, or by using the LA-HOP website throughout the year to connect our unhoused neighbors to street outreach workers.”

Priscilla and Ryan Coughran prepare to participate in the homeless Count. All photos by Aurelia Ventura / Board of Supervisors

Priscilla and Ryan Coughran and their young children were among those who participated in this year’s Count. The family had been homeless themselves until the County stepped in to provide them with housing and services. Now, the couple is determined to help others who are still struggling, while also teaching their sons an important life lesson. “Us experiencing homelessness as a family, it was important to us that even after we got housed that we didn’t forget that, that our boys didn’t forget that,” Priscilla said.

The data from the Count offers a comprehensive look at the state of homelessness in Los Angeles County on any given night, including geographic distribution and trends among various populations. The results will be released in May 2019.

The 2018 Count showed the number of people experiencing homelessness decreased to about 53,000 people — a 4 percent drop from 2017, and the first decline since 2014. Both the County and City of Los Angeles are working to sustain that progress with Measure H and the County’s Homeless Initiative, Proposition HHH, and other initiatives combat homelessness.

Thanks to Measure H, the County has moved nearly 10,000 people into permanent housing since July 2017, and placed nearly 18,000 people into temporary housing during the same period. More than 700 outreach workers are now working across the County helping homeless residents access housing and support services.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas greets residents of a homeless encampment on the first day of the homeless count.

For those unable to participate in the Count, they can still direct street outreach teams to their unhoused neighbors by using a new web portal called Los Angeles Homeless Outreach Portal or LA-HOP. Funded by Measure H, the mobile-friendly platform empowers members of the general public, first responders and service providers to provide information on homeless persons on the street and request outreach.

LA-HOP is a valuable new tool to get services to vulnerable residents living on the street. It makes it easier and more efficient for the public to request help and have it dispatched to connect homeless persons with outreach workers.