August 16, 2012
A 1.72-acre of land, where four abandoned houses have been the site of blight and a source of nuisance in the Willowbrook community, soon will be transformed into a new 55-unit affordable housing complex.
At its August 14, meeting, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors authorized a conditional use housing permit championed by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, which grants A Community of Friends, a non-profit affordable housing developer, the rights to demolish the residences and construct a 55-unit affordable housing complex on Avalon Boulevard in Willowbrook.
Thirty seven of the units will be designated for individuals and their families who are homeless and living with mental illness, 17-units for low-income families, and one unit will house the property manager. The complex also will house amenities and on-site supportive services for daily living such as budgeting and cooking classes, a part-time medical clinic provided by the T.H.E. Clinic, a children’s play area, patio area, a community garden, a computer room, and a community room for tenant movie nights.
“This facility will be a significant asset to the Willowbrook community,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “This complex has great potential to not only meet the immediate housing needs of its residents but to profoundly transform their lives with the host of on-site amenities and services available to them.”
The housing development is part of a larger development strategy, spearheaded by Ridley Thomas, to merge public and private investment in the area, and to create a village of housing, retail, and public services within walking distance for the residents of Willowbrook.
Other developments in the area include: a new $7.5-million East Rancho Dominguez Library currently under construction on the corner of East Rose Street and South Atlantic, the Delores McCoy Villa affordable housing project, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Public Health, and the new Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center and the Community Hospital that are currently underway on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Center campus. In total over $500 million in County funds has been invested into the Willowbrook area.
Construction of the $17.9 million project is scheduled to begin in Spring 2013. The project is being funded with monies from the state’s Mental Health Services Act, awarded by the County of Los Angeles, the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program, public sector resources, private investment, and a commercial bank loan.
Once completed, the housing development will meet Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Certification and will include energy efficient appliances, water conservation methods, and solar technology.
A Community of Friends’ mission is to end homelessness by providing quality permanent supportive housing for people with mental illness. To date, the non-profit that was founded 24 years ago has completed 38 affordable apartment buildings for people with special needs.