Work is getting underway on a 40-unit permanent supportive housing project in South Los Angeles that is funded by the private sector and named for civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, who was on hand Friday for the groundbreaking ceremony.
The Dolores Huerta Apartments project is being built on a city-owned lot at 5215 S. Figueroa St., valued at about $1.1 million. Minus the land, the property project is being fully funded through $7 million in private sector money from the SDS Capital Group’s Supportive Housing Fund.
In February, the group announced it had raised $106 million in private-sector capital to build 1,800 permanent supportive housing units for people in California in partnership with RMG Housing, an affordable housing developer, allowing it to complete its developments three times as fast and at less than half the average per-unit cost of other permanent sustainable housing in the state.
“Never before has a developer built permanent supportive housing on city-owned land with private funds from the private sector,” said Tim Roth, CEO of RMG Housing. “What we’re doing here should be a model of how to tackle homelessness for this great city of ours and the state of California.”
The facility will be made from shipping containers and cost about $200,000 per unit. Councilman Curren Price celebrated the cost as lower than many units funded by the city through Proposition HHH, which can run as high as $600,000.
The units are expected to be ready within six months for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the fall, Price said.
He added that his district, which has the second-highest population of unhoused residents in the city, has 2,400 units in the pipeline and 900 are scheduled to be completed at the end of 2022.
“We’re facing a housing crisis like never seen before in the county of Los Angeles and really throughout California and throughout our nation. Rising rents, the high cost of living, have created extreme hardships for many of our neighbors,” Price said.
The Dolores Huerta Apartments will house homeless residents in the immediate area around the building, according to Price.
“It’s also fitting that this building will be named after a fierce warrior whose lifelong mission has been advocating for the marginalized and disenfranchised,” Price said.
Huerta, who with the late Cesar Chavez co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later merged with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee to become the United Farm Workers labor union, spoke at the groundbreaking about the need to destigmatize and house the homeless population.
“To see what we see today and see people on the street, we, the richest country in the world, cannot have any excuses for that to happen,” Huerta said. “We have to erase the income inequality, the systemic racism that exists in our society, so that we do not have any people homeless on the street.”
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