Los Angeles County is partnering with the Weingart Center Association to repurpose a Baldwin Park hotel into 107 studio apartments for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, thanks to a new round of Homekey 3.0 grants announced by the State of California, plus funding from the County of Los Angeles, City of Baldwin Park, L.A. Care Health Plan and Health Net.
The State awarded a $34.6 million Homekey 3.0 grant to the project, and the Board of Supervisors committed $16 million to meet the “local match” requirement. To pay for supportive services at the site, the County will use Measure H funds, a 10-year quarter-cent sales tax approved by County voters in 2017 to prevent and address homelessness.
The Weingart Center will renovate the Baldwin Park hotel to create 107 studio apartments. It will include on-site wraparound services, various amenities such a community patio and pet area, and landscaping and security improvements. Each unit will be approximately 300 sq. ft. with a bathroom, kitchen, furniture, appliances and cabinet space. The Baldwin Park project brings the County’s total number of Homekey properties to 25, with a combined total of about 1,600 units.
“Jurisdictions across the First District have played a critical role in bolstering our homeless services system – including the City of Baldwin Park. While some communities push back against offering our most vulnerable a chance, hope, and dignity, Baldwin Park is stepping up once again. They are welcoming a Homekey site with open arms in an effort to help solve our most pressing crisis, homelessness. This site, called the Weingart Sycamore, will be a testament to what can be accomplished when residents, different levels of government, a nonprofit affordable housing developer, and the County’s largest Medi-Cal-managed health plans work collaboratively and innovatively to help our unhoused neighbors,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, First District.
“Housing stability is vital to the independence of individuals experiencing homelessness,” said Baldwin Park Mayor Emmanuel J. Estrada. “We are thrilled to collaborate with the County of Los Angeles and Weingart Center Association in the highly competitive Homekey Round 3 funding opportunity. I’m proud of the work we have accomplished, and today’s grant is another example of our commitment to collaborate and improve the quality of life for our residents.”
The City of Baldwin Park plans to use its allotment of federal project-based vouchers to provide rental subsidies at several units, but this is a limited resource. To fill the gap, LA County innovated with L.A. Care and Health Net to support the use of tenant-based vouchers at this site and others, as well.
Typically, permanent supportive housing sites utilize project-based vouchers, which are scarce rental subsidies attached to the units in a particular building. Tenant-based vouchers, which are attached to the tenant rather than the unit, are more readily available but can create financial instability for sites should a tenant move, or vacancies occur for other reasons.
Amid the Board of Supervisors’ declaration of a local emergency on homelessness, L.A. Care and Health Net committed $114 million through the Housing and Homelessness Incentive Program (HHIP) of which half the funds are being used to help increase the availability of permanent housing units in the private rental market for tenant-based subsidy holders experiencing homelessness. A portion of those HHIP funds will help provide the Baldwin Park project with financial stability by allowing for the use of tenant-based vouchers in the units that lack project-based vouchers.
“Housing is critical for good health,” said John Baackes, L.A. Care CEO. “L.A. Care is proud to collaborate with so many public and private partners who are all working toward finding permanent housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. We know that having a safe place to live leads to healthier individuals and healthier communities.”
“It is through our partnerships at the local level that we’re able to accomplish our goals to improve the lives of the most vulnerable populations we serve, including the unhoused,” said Medicare and Medi-Cal President at Health Net, Martha Santana-Chin. “Health Net is proud of our collaboration with L.A. Care Health Plan and Los Angeles County, and we look forward to continuing our work to advance health equity for Angelenos.”
“The Weingart Center is honored to partner with the State of California, Los Angeles County, and the City of Baldwin Park, to bring much-needed homeless housing to the community.” said Sen. Kevin Murray, Weingart Center President & CEO.