Metro train
A Metro train. Courtesy LA Metro

Crews broke ground Wednesday on a six-story affordable and permanent supportive housing development above the Vermont/Santa Monica Metro station in East Hollywood.

The 187-unit building, at 1021 N. Vermont Ave., is being developed by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the land, and the Little Tokyo Service Center. Half of the units will be affordable for low-income households and half will be used to provide permanent supportive housing to people experiencing homelessness, according to Metro.

“Many transit riders in our county have an average annual income of just $19,325 a year,” Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins said. “These are the residents that need affordable housing located near transit the most. How we use our land can help make the difference between a thriving community for all versus one that doesn’t work for low- and moderate-income families.”

The development is part of Metro’s Joint Development Policy to build transit-oriented developments on land owned by the agency. The goal is to build 5,000 affordable housing units by 2031.

Metro’s efforts are also aimed at reducing vehicle usage and increasing transit ridership by linking the public transportation system with retail, commercial spaces and housing.

According to Metro, the transit agency has already created 2,200 units and an additional 300 are in the works.

“Today is an exciting day for Metro and East Hollywood,” Metro Board Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis said. “This new transit-oriented development will be an example of how innovative thinking and strategic partnerships can make sustainable, equitable development a reality.”

The Santa Monica Vermont Apartments will include retail space, a health center and food court, according to Metro, which said priority for leases will be given to local and legacy small businesses.

“Projects like these will make a real difference for working families in East Hollywood, while also putting people experiencing homelessness on a pathway to wellness, stability and a purposeful life,” said Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who represents East Hollywood on the Los Angeles City Council.

The development, which Metro said should be completed in two years, is aimed at stabilizing the community and helping East Hollywood residents avoid displacement. The project will also add new seating, lighting, landscaping, transit shelters and a bike/mobility hub to the Metro station and plaza.

“This project is a prime example of how we can place Los Angeles on a path toward a more sustainable, affordable and livable future. We hope it will inspire future sustainable housing developments in cities and communities across the county,” said Little Tokyo Service Center Executive Director Erich Nakano.

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