Terracina Apartments Change Lives and a Neighborhood in Athens

Monique Rivers knows what it’s like to struggle. After returning home from a stint in the Navy, Rivers fell on hard times and became homeless. It was rough going—until she found the Terracina Apartments, newly built, affordable units in Athens that she now calls home. Now she has returned to school at the Art Institute and hopes to become a fashion designer.

“I have stability, it’s comfortable, beautiful,” said Rivers. “I like to have my coffee on my balcony and overlook the gardens. Living here has given me motivation and a new outlook on life.”

Indeed, the Terracina Apartments were meant to be just that—transformative not just for individuals but also the neighborhood.

The Terracina Apartments replace an old trailer park on a 3.5 acre brownfield site that was cleaned up. The apartment complex, which recently opened, is a $25-million investment in Athens that includes a $5.8-million grant from the LA County Community Development Commission to help finance the project. There are 72 units of low-income family housing, with 15 of the units reserved for youngsters who have turned 18 and have recently left the foster care system. Residents can also receive mental health services and financial, social and educational services from Didi Hirsch and Women Organizing Resources Knowledge & Services (WORKS)

Residents can enjoy a large community room with computer lab, barbeque areas, children’s playground, and a community garden on raised beds where fresh fruits and vegetables can grow. The site is close to the Metro Green Line, Washington High school, Southwest College, Jesse Owens Park and the South Los Angeles Sheriff Station. In addition, the building is Gold LEED certified, meaning that it has high environmental standards with drought resistant landscaping and has solar power.

“I believe that every individual has the right to live in safe, affordable and quality housing,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who led the effort to secure more than $5.7 in county funding for the housing complex. “This should not be considered a privilege. It is a right. This development represents the best of what government, the private sector and community organizations can come together to accomplish.”

Please click here for another story on affordable housing with services for residents: http://ridley-thomas.lacounty.gov/index.php/affordable-homes-in-jefferson-park-now-open/