Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas led the ribbon cutting ceremony during the grand opening of the Nightingale Apartments in Florence-Firestone, which will house 29 formerly homeless clients of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS).
Developed by Linc Housing, the beautiful four-story building has 29 one-bedroom apartments, many of them designed to accommodate people with disabilities, as well as an apartment for the on-site manager. Amenities include on-site supportive services, a community room with computer lab, a multi-purpose room, private meeting rooms for service providers and case management, and an outdoor BBQ and seating area with a community garden. Residents will receive wraparound intensive supportive services from The People Concern, resident services programming from LINC Cares, and move-in support from Brilliant Corners.
The Nightingale Apartments are the latest proof of Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ commitment to Florence-Firestone. He has overseen over $100 million in investment capital and social programs for the community, including affordable housing projects, an improved senior services and constituent service center, streetscape improvements, park renovations, and in art programming and economic development activities.
“To The Nightingale apartments’ new residents, congratulations and welcome to the neighborhood. To Linc Housing, thank you for being a partner in our effort to lift people out of homelessness,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “We need a coordinated and comprehensive crisis response to homelessness, but the backbone of our effort must continue to be affordable housing with support services. Grand opening ceremonies like this remind us that with a house key, we can change the course of someone’s life. And we must not rest until everyone who calls Los Angeles County home has the same opportunity to live a life of dignity and purpose.”
When Cleveland, a resident at The Nightingale, heard he’d been approved to move in, he had two reasons to celebrate – he was getting off the street, and he had just completed his last round of chemotherapy. He would finally have a home where he could recover and heal. He became homeless in 2014 due to a series of unfortunate events, including his own illness, his mother’s passing, and losing their home to foreclosure. Cleveland said the scariest part of living on the streets was worrying about his safety. “I tried to fit in as best I could,” he said. “Now that I have stable housing, I’m trying to do things that I never learned how to do before.” He’s been learning to use computers. He hopes to leave a legacy of his life experiences by writing a book, and he’s determined to take better care of his health now that he’s housed.
“Linc Housing continues its commitment to building affordable housing with supportive services to create stronger neighborhoods,” said Linc president and CEO Rebecca Clark. “The support from the community and our elected officials is unprecedented. We’re grateful so many people recognize that the homelessness crisis must be addressed. Linc and our partners are doing all we can to be part of the solution.”
California State Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Sr., representatives of the DHS, the Los Angeles County Development Authority and other partners also attended the grand opening ceremony.
All of the Nightingale’s residents were referred by the DHS through the Coordinated Entry System (CES). With the urgent need for more housing to help address the region’s homelessness crisis, Linc was able to work with the County of Los Angeles and its inspectors to fast track the permitting and approval processes. The homes were filled in record time, demonstrating the high demand for supportive housing and the County’s commitment to move as quickly as possible.
Services include mental health and physical health services, employment counseling and job placement, education, substance abuse counseling, money management, assistance in obtaining and maintaining benefits, and referrals to community-based services and resources. Linc Cares also supports residents with a variety of services to promote community, health and wellness. Several Linc Cares programs are already underway at The Nightingale, including computer classes, yoga, sustainable living workshops, gardening club, healthy eating and cooking classes, and a monthly food bank.