Maria Esparza couldn’t believe her eyes when she first saw her new apartment at Avenida, Los Angeles County’s latest Homekey permanent supportive housing project in the Koreatown/Rampart Village area.
“What I’ve learned over the time I was in Skid Row is ‘don’t give up,’” Esparza said. “I’ve fought through illness and operations. I’m a fighter. I know I’m a fighter. You see the results right here. I’m in my own home now.”
Holos Communities partnered with Los Angeles County to transform the former hotel into 75 studio apartments through Homekey, a program of the California State Housing Community Development Department that aims to bring together state, regional, and local public entities to develop a broad range of housing types for people experiencing homelessness.
“There are case managers for all the residents who move in,” said Aaron Perry-Zucker, Holos Communities’ director of marketing and communications. “They get regular weekly meetings to help them connect to other services like medical and dental – anything the resident may need to help them in their transition to permanent housing.”
By utilizing existing hotels, motels, and other residential structures, Homekey provides a streamlined process dramatically reduced the time required to assemble capital and source land to expedite projects like Avenida, which was completed in 1/3 of the time and roughly 2/3 the cost of typical affordable housing developments today.
“We hope that when people move in, that they will get the services they need and the help they need to be able to stand on their own two feet – and to feel a sense of home and a sense of safety when they come inside,” said Christina Villacorte, with the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative.
“There is hope for everyone here,” said Esparza. “You just have to want it.”