The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and its partner, Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) celebrated the groundbreaking for the Santa Monica Vermont Apartments in East Hollywood. The project’s 187-units will be affordable for low income households, with half of the units reserved as permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals. The project will also include on-site supportive services for residents, provided by Housing Works, a non-profit organization providing permanent supportive services to the most vulnerable and needy members of the Los Angeles community.
Development on Metro-owned land near transit stations helps families reduce their two largest household expenses – housing and transportation. This new development is expected to do just that by providing critically needed affordable housing for those who need it the most, including the unhoused. There is currently an extreme shortage of such housing within Los Angeles County.
The six-story building will include community-serving retail space with plans for a health center and a food court, prioritizing local and legacy small businesses as tenants. The project will also improve the plaza and station area with new seating, lighting and landscaping as well as a bike/mobility hub and new transit shelters.
The apartments not only benefit lower income families and those experiencing homelessness but also help local communities thrive by addressing the needs of their most vulnerable populations. When it’s completed in two years, the project will help stabilize the East Hollywood community and avoid displacement, making the area and the Los Angeles County region more sustainable, affordable and livable.
“Today is an exciting day for Metro and East Hollywood,” said Metro Board Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, representing the First District. “This new transit-oriented development will be an example of how innovative thinking and strategic partnerships can make sustainable, equitable development a reality. Developing housing on Metro-owned land is making a difference in the lives of Angelenos throughout the County and we will continue to work to deliver on our promise of developing 5,000 affordable housing units by 2031.”
In June 2021, the Metro Board of Directors adopted an updated Joint Development Policy with a mandate to build as much affordable housing near transit for those who need it most, as soon as possible. Through Metro’s Joint Development Program 300 affordable housing units have begun construction on Metro-owned land this year, adding to the 2,200 units in Metro’s portfolio.
“Every Angeleno deserves a safe, affordable and comfortable place to live,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who helped secure funding and entitlements for the project’s completion. “Projects like these will make a real difference for working families in East Hollywood, while also putting people experiencing homelessness on a pathway to wellness, stability and a purposeful life. I’m proud to have worked with LTSC and Metro to make this project a reality and look forward to welcoming its first residents as soon as it opens.”
“We are proud to be collaborating with Metro on this development that will help address the acute affordability challenges families face throughout Los Angeles,” said LTSC Executive Director Erich Nakano. “This project is a prime example of how we can place Los Angeles on a path toward a more sustainable, affordable and livable future. We hope it will inspire future sustainable housing developments in cities and communities across the county.”
“Many transit riders in our county have an average annual income of just $19,325 a year,” said Metro CEO Stephanie N. Wiggins. “These are the residents that need affordable housing located near transit the most. How we use our land can help make the difference between a thriving community for all versus one that doesn’t work for low- and moderate-income families.”
Metro’s Joint Development sites are a gateway to the Metro transit system and hold unique potential to advance community development goals while attracting new riders to the Metro system. The agency’s joint development efforts help reduce auto use and increase transit ridership by directly linking Metro’s transportation network with retail, commercial, and housing opportunities. Projects also provide Metro with revenue based on the value of Metro’s property. These amounts, in turn, are reinvested in eligible transportation projects throughout Los Angeles County.
Little Tokyo Service Center is a social service and community development organization that has been creating positive change for the people and places in Southern California for over 40 years. Starting with its home in Little Tokyo, LTSC preserves and strengthens the unique ethnic communities of the region where people, culture and collective future matter.