Santa Monica Daily Press
By Clara Harter | March 08, 2021
Santa Monica, a leader in affordable housing production, recently received $5.5 million in funding from two California Department of Housing and Community Development grants.
This money will go towards three housing projects targeting at risk youth, people experiencing homelessness and elderly individuals.
“Affordable housing, always a precious resource, has become even more necessary as greater numbers of our community suffer the financial hardships brought on by the pandemic,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “We thank HCD for this much appreciated contribution to our affordable housing trust fund that will offer stability to Santa Monicans.”
Currently, the City has eight affordable housing projects in the pipeline for a broad range of low-income residents including families and people with disabilities. The grant money was awarded in recognition of Santa Monica’s robust commitment to providing quality housing options to all types of low-income individuals.
The first award is a $5 million grant from the California Local Housing Trust Program. A second grant from the Permanent Local Housing Allocation program provided $547,516 for 2021 and will provide approximately $3.3 million over the next five years.
“This is significant and welcome support from the state that will spur the production and preservation of affordable housing,” said Andy Agle, director of the City’s Community Services Department. “The awards reflect Santa Monica’s commitment to affordable housing and will help preserve existing housing and bring more affordable residences to the community.”
One of the projects will protect 40 residences in the Pico neighborhood by rehabilitating a building and formally designating it as affordable housing. The aging complex on Virginia Ave was being looked at by speculative developers, which put the housing stability of its elderly residents at risk.
Thanks to a loan from the City, the Community Corporation of Santa Monica was able to buy the building and will use this new grant money to partially fund its preservation and improvement efforts.
“The rehabilitation is going to put the building in a state where it will have another 80 years of useful life, and preserve the community that the residents have lived in for decades,” said Jim Kemper, City housing program manager.
The second project that the grant money will go towards is a 58 residence apartment building for people experiencing homelessness. EAH housing is developing the project on 14th St. and Michigan Ave., which will offer a range of support services to its residents.
The final project is a smaller 13 residence development on Berkeley St. and Santa Monica Blvd. This building will be developed by Community Corp of Santa Monica and target young adults experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.
While the demand for affordable housing in Los Angeles continues to significantly outmatch the supply, these projects will help make a dent in the city’s affordability crisis and create stable homes for many community members.
“We’re always trying to get the word out to folks that live here or work here and want to be in affordable housing to sign up on the waitlist,” said Kemper. “When people are affordably housed it enables them to thrive in other ways. They can access good education and actively participate in the community. When folks live in the same city they work in they help reduce traffic and pollution.”
Kemper said anyone who would like to sign up for the waitlist should visit santamonica.gov/housing-BMH.