Homeless families settle into new East L.A. apartments

EAST LOS ANGELES — Officials last week held a grand opening for Whittier Place, a 25-unit affordable housing complex that includes services to support formerly homeless families.

The three-story project, constructed on the site of a vacant lot and former bar on Whittier Boulevard,  includes 18 partially furnished apartments for homeless families, according East L.A. Community Corp., a nonprofit developer. The remainder of the of one- and two-bedroom units are for other low-income tenants, said a spokeswoman.

In addition to a recreational courtyard, community room and off-street parking, Whittier Place, built by Walton Construction, will offer services from the Los Angeles House of Ruth, which assists women and children that have been the victims of domestic violence. The 18 homeless families will have on-site access to mental and supportive health services.

“Being on site at Whittier Place Apartments will allow [us to] continue to work with formerly homeless families and build community so that they will continue to support each other and other families in the building,” said Sister Jennifer Gaeta, a member of the House of Ruth, in a statement.

The development cost an estimated $13.4 million, according to state records.

Whittier Place replaced a former bar and vacant lot | Scott Petersen Photography


  1. glassell park whitey

    that’s really awesome – i hate to say it but that;s govt money put to good use.

  2. glassell park whitey

    the key is they can’t stay forever — the point is to get them on their feet and into society so that the next family can get a shot… it can’t be like welfare or similar where you get unmotivated because you have a beautiful new home indefinitely … i’d say 2 years and out. and get them some on site educational advice to place them in trade school programs. because let’s be honest 13 million to help about 20 families is too much. but if we can help hundreds then it makes sense…. thoughts? i’m not expert.

    • That’s a good plan, they should have a time limit that would allow them to find work and save enough money to support themselves after the assistance period.

    • I agree 100%, though I think I’d give a family four or five years to stay in any type of subsidized housing. There are many needy people in this city, and it’s not fair for one family to benefit from Section 8 subsidies for 20+ years.

    • What if the heads of household are on a fixed income due to a disability (physical or mental illness) that prevents them from working even part time?

      • If someone isn’t able to work due to a disability, he or she could move to a city or state where housing is cheaper to begin with. There are places where two-bedroom apartments rent for $600 a month, and if a person isn’t working, then the lack of employment opportunities in such areas shouldn’t be a concern.

        • Their disability checks would be lowered based on the cost of living in the state they are in as well so they would face the same economic problems.

  3. Wow – that’s $536,000 per unit of low income housing??? Somehow I think a habitable apt unit could be constructed for much less than that. Where did all that money go>

    • yeah and it’s a wonder why the local and state inept governments can’t solve homelessness. If this is what affordable housing looks and costs, forget about it. buy them a 1 way ticket the eff out of dodge.

    • It’s true, affordable housing units are really expensive to build. Since public money is going into the project, there are very high standards of construction, union wages, and requirements for compliance, reporting, etc. It all adds up to being more expensive than a similar market-rate unit.

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