Seventy-three seniors – half of whom used to live on the streets – now have a beautiful, dignified and affordable place to call home at Athens Vistas Apartments. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas cut the ceremonial ribbon during the grand opening of the supportive housing complex for homeless seniors and persons with limited means.
“This is what individual transformation and community transformation can and should look like,” he said. “We have to build more projects like this, and quickly, because we have more than 4,000 seniors throughout the county who still need and deserve a place that they too can call home.”
“This is a slice of paradise in South Los Angeles,” said 69-year-old Wendy Brooks, one of Athens Vistas’ new tenants. “Help us continue to build more opportunities like this one.”
“I’m very, very happy I’m not in the streets like I was,” added Richard Vasquez, the last of 73 residents to join the Athens Vistas community. Just six months earlier, he had been sleeping in the park.
The Los Angeles County Development Authority, Los Angeles County Housing Development Corporation, and Veloce Partners, along with FPI Management, Inc., were key to building the project, which features 74 units, including one for the manager.
Athens Vistas has a central outdoor courtyard, container garden and edible landscaping, two community rooms, a laundry room, gym, designated exercise room, computer room, and social services. Amenities include energy efficient appliances, ceiling fans and lighting, dual flush toilets, and access to either a patio or balcony. The senior units all meet the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act standards and include Universal Design standards.
The Salvation Army is the lead service provider for the project and will provide an onsite Service Coordinator to link residents with essential services based on their individualized needs. They can also help with resumé creation, coordinating employment training, organizing community building activities, securing transportation, and developing educational programs. They can also connect residents to other service providers who can help with case management, mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling, and other assistance.
The YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, meanwhile, will provide residents with fun and interactive programs and activities to prevent social isolation and physical inactivity.