By Bill Hendrickson
When it comes to fighting homelessness, Northeast Los Angeles has not been a priority for the City of Los Angeles. Of some 110 city projects now in the pipeline to build permanent supportive housing for the homeless in L.A., only one is in NELA – and it has been delayed pending a crucial decision that will be made this month.
Dubbed “Colorado East” the $24 million project is planned for 2451 Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock. It is envisioned as a five-story, 41-unit residential building, similar to its next door neighbor, “Colorado Terrace.” The two buildings have the same owner and developer, Kurken Alyanakian.
Colorado East is slated to have 26 one-bedroom apartments and 14 two-bedroom apartments, primarily for chronically homeless individuals and homeless families. As permanent supportive housing, the building will also include on-site services, such as health care, drug and alcohol programs and job search assistance. An occupant’s rent will be capped at 30% of a renter’s monthly income.
The combination of affordability and on-site services has proven effective in helping homeless people leave the streets and keep a roof over their heads. Last March, several Eagle Rockers saw the results for themselves, when public tours were held of the 56-unit Teague Terrace, a permanent supportive housing building on Eagle Rock Boulevard in Glassell Park that opened in 2015. Another exemplary permanent supportive housing building, the 46-unit T. Bailey Manor, also on Eagle Rock Boulevard in Glassell Park, opened in 2017.
Colorado East is being developed with money from Proposition HHH, the anti-homelessness bond measure passed in 2016, along with various tax credits and other public and private funding. There’s a lot money in those pots and a lot of complexity to access it.
Nevertheless, Colorado East was on track for a groundbreaking last August, but for one remaining financial issue.
Namely, with rents at Colorado East capped at 30% of a renter’s monthly income, subsidies are needed to boost the rental income to a level that can support the project. L.A. County will provide the subsidies for most of the one-bedroom apartments as well as funding for the supportive services, said Tim Elliot, the manager of finance and
investment at the Housing + Community Investment department in L.A. But federal “Section 8” subsidies will be needed for the two-bedroom apartments and one of the one-bedroom apartments.
The next round of Section 8 money, coming to L.A. in November, will not be enough to subsidize all of the new projects that will be seeking Section 8 funding. So, there will be a lot of competition for the subsidies.
Elliot told the Boulevard Sentinel that Colorado East may have a competitive edge in the fight for Section 8 subsidies because the project is shovel ready at this point. Alyanakian, the Colorado East developer, said he is “hoping and positive.”
If the Section 8 gods look favorably on Colorado East — and on the homeless people who would find homes there – Alyanakian thinks the groundbreaking would take place in the first quarter of 2020.
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