On the same day that city, county and state officials gathered to celebrate a $41.8 million permanent supportive housing project in Skid Row, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration announced that nearly $200 million is coming to Los Angeles County communities to support traditional affordable housing – a need policymakers say must be addressed to prevent people from slipping into homelessness in the first place.
Mayor Karen Bass, L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, and other officials attended the Thursday, Feb 9, grand opening ceremony of LAMP Lodge, a seven-story, 82-unit permanent supportive housing complex for those who have experienced homelessness. The building opened last fall, replacing a 100-plus-year-old, three-story dilapidated building that only offered 50 rooms.
In 2017, The People Concern, a nonprofit social services agency, began looking at replacing the rundown old building with a modernized facility that people with disabilities could access. It relocated tenants who were living there and partnered with Meta Housing to construct the new facility, which features a central courtyard, community room and a full laundry service room.
“This work is a slog, and sometimes you wonder, ‘Why are we doing all this?’” John Maceri, chief executive of The People Concern, said during Thursday’s grand opening event.
“And then you get to a day like this, or the days when we’re handing the keys to the apartments to our residents, and it just all kind of washes away,” he continued. “The trials and tribulations, the bureaucratic red tape, it just all fades away, and we see residents moving in.”
Kasey Burke, president of Meta Housing, said the new LAMP Lodge is much more than simply brick and mortar.
“It represents hope and a brighter future for the individuals and families who call the Lodge home,” he said. “Here, they will have access to a safe and stable environment with the support and resources to help them get back on their feet.
Skid Row is the epicenter of the region’s homelessness crisis.
On Thursday, Bass stressed that while new housing for the homeless is being built in the city, it’s also critical to have resources to prevent people from falling into homelessness in the first place.
“In order to address this problem, addressing the substance abuse and mental health have to be at the center, but we also have to stop … people from falling into homelessness,” she said. “One of the frustrations in our city was, as housing gets built, we have to think about preventing those who fall into homelessness.”
LA County supervisors OK biggest-ever budget – $609.7 million – to help homeless
LAUSD launches mentorships for homeless, absent and struggling students
Fence surrounding Echo Park Lake to discourage encampments to be removed
Wait-and-see period dawns as new LA County leaders redouble homeless housing efforts
LA is losing the battle against mental illness among its homeless
Shortly after she spoke, Lourdes Castro Ramirez, secretary of the state’s Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency, announced that the state will be awarding $825.5 million to communities throughout California to fund 9,500 affordable housing units.
Of that amount, $196 million will go toward 28 housing and infrastructure improvement projects throughout L.A. County to provide approximately 2,900 housing units, representatives from the Newsom Administration said.