L.A.’s Luxury Solution to Homelessness
Homelessness isn’t just an issue in San Francisco – it’s a prevalent problem in Los Angeles. L.A. has now built state of the art apartment complexes, offering community gardens, libraries, running tracks, art rooms, and home gyms, that aren’t reserved for the upper class – the recently opened Star Apartments now brings these amenities to exclusively homeless residents.
The Star Apartment Complex: The 5-Star Homeless Hotel?
The nearly 15,000-square-foot apartment complex offers residents a community garden, a library, a running track, an art room and an exercise facility.
Michael Maltzan, the designer, told the L.A. Times that the “community that lives here should have a similar environment to anybody that could afford something more expensive.”
The 102-unit complex will also be the home of L.A. County’s Department of Health Services’ Housing for Health division, which focuses on specifically improving the health of the region’s homeless population, and hopes to house 10,000 people over the next decade, according to Huffington Post. The complex will serve as the headquarters of the division and will also house a county medical clinic on the ground floor.
The project was made possible by the Skid Row Housing Trust, which helps find affordable homes for people with disabilities, poor health, mental illness or addiction. The trust is funding is funding the complex through a low-income housing tax credit equity, provided by Bank of America and the National Equity Fund.
Housing First, Rehab Second
The program also focuses on rehabilitation, and residents are required to allocate 30 percent of their income, whatever that may be, on rent. Although the apartment complex opened its doors only a year ago, it is expected to be at full capacity by November.
Like San Francisco’s Care Not Cash effort, L.A. has recently stepped up its fight against homelessness by focusing on a “housing first” approach that focuses on getting people off the street before any other issue.
The Revolving Door of Homelessness in California
The Star Apartments project is a new way California cities are combating homelessness. One-night stay shelters, a more conventional method, are often subject to overcrowding and many seeking shelter get turned away.
Most subsidized housing in California is designed to fit a person’s most basic needs, and as a result, the complexes are often run down, or ill-managed. For many, living in substandard housing in an impoverished area, does very little to break the vicious cycle of homelessness, where many end up being back on the street quickly.
The Star Apartments take a different approach. The idea here is that by bringing those in need out of an impoverished situation and introducing them to a better living space, they will be able to keep a roof over their heads.
But statistics show that housing alone does not break the cycle of homelessness. Many need counseling and care, in addition to basic needs, like food and shelter. The Star apartments have tenants covered there too: the bottom level of the complex is also a medical clinic and a counseling center, so those in need do not even have to leave their home to receive care.
Stay tuned to Reset San Francisco for more updates on more ways cities and counties around the country are working towards solving homelessness.