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Monday, September 26, 2016

Affordable housing developer seeks city loan for 36-unit Silver Lake project *

Photo from Google Maps

The two story-brick apartment building on Vendome Street near Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake has been vacant and boarded up for several years.  But under a plan proposed by A Community of Friends, a nonprofit housing developer, the 1926 complex – across the street from Los Globos nightclub – will be reborn as the Vendome Palms Apartments, a 36-unit project catering to homeless and mentally ill residents.  Plans include services and case managers to assist the tenants, who will be housed primarily in studio apartments. The developer, however, needs to obtain an approximately $6.2 million loan from the city to renovate the building, a project that will cost more than $10 million to complete. Today, the City Council’s Housing, Community & Economic Development committee, will review a request by the city’s Housing Department to  issue about $6.2 million in tax-exempt municipal bonds to support the development. The Vendome Palms won the support of the city’s Housing Department back in 2008 but A Community of Friends  had difficulty winning federal financial commitments to complete the project, according to a housing department staff report. The developer is facing an August 25 deadline to have the city issue the bonds.

* Update: The committee voted to support issuing the bonds. The proposal is scheduled to be reviewed and voted upon by the full City Council on Friday.



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23 comments

  1. Let private enterprise do it. Besides history proves, again and again, that concentrating poverty in a single area is a terrible idea.

  2. Instead of having tax payers borrow the money, why not give a developer and/new buyers a tax break.

  3. Concerned about the people that may become residents in this facility not because I’m a snob just with lots of young children in the area and if many are mentally ill its concerning

  4. I hope they get their money and can bring in those tenants (who need a break) as long as they are equipped to handle issues some of these folks may have BEFORE they hit the streets outside the complex. I often look at the homeless & think of the hardship that has befallen some people, & think that many could rebound if given a home and a chance.

  5. SH,

    Could not agree more! Where is the plan on these issues?

  6. Oh and Sh,

    It’s not snobbish to want safe, clean, neighborhoods. Don’t let anyone tell you it is.

  7. If they handle things as well as the halfway house a few hundred yards away up the hill then we are all kinds of screwed on this.

    Why do we need two of these places so close to one another? When and where do we get to have our input on this, especially as it looks like “we” are loaning them the money to build it?

    Can’t they build this thing on the empty meadow at the reservoir?

    Oh sorry that’s north of Sunset isn’t it. These things belong on the south side.

    • Actually, Regency Manor is not a half way house, it is a licensed aboard and care facility for mentally ill adults ages 18-59. I worked there for 6 years as the Assistant Administrator. These residents go through a very rigid selection processrefered to us from hospitals all over southern california. They are not criminals, nir are they homeless

  8. I’m in favor of housing for the homeless, even the mentally ill homeless, most especially if they do provide qualified on-site case managers and services.

    On that shallow analysis of this project, I’m in favor of it. But let the details actually be to provide housing for the homeless — who obviously can’t afford to pay. And let it serve that purpose for the longterm, if they want our money, not just for 10 years, then evict those people and charge high rent. And make sure it is properly monitored; we want to help people, not just give them a new place to create trouble. And make sure it honors other needs, such as enough onsite parking (no less than would otherwise be required), maintenance and appearance, etc.

    While I don’t live right by that intersection, I do live nearby in the neighborhood and have for 25 years.

  9. @Knuckle, where is the halfway house located that you’re talking about? I had no idea and have lived just blocks away for a decade….

  10. The halfway house is Regency Manor located at the corner of Descanso Drive and Robinson. The residents are generally benign – they walk up and down the street talking to themselves although I personally know of a few incidents where some residents were caught stealing stuff off front porches and yards. (From Vendome, go up the Music Box steps and take a left on Descanso).

    There is also the Gateway Halfway House further down towards the freeway.

    • Actually, Regency Manor is not a half way house, it is a licensed board and care facility for mentally ill adults ages 18-59. I worked there for 6 years as the Assistant Administrator. These residents go through a very rigid selection process and are refered to us from hospitals all over southern california. They are not criminals, nor are they homeless, they are mildly to moderately mental ill adults not sick enough to be in a locked facility, yet too sick to live on their own.

      I know each one individually, and each one has a heart breaking story behind their mental illness. So before you judge, please keep in mind that they were all like you and I at one point in their life. All were trying to do is give then as close to a normal happy life as we can.

      Keep in mind that you can always call Regency if you have an issue. If that does not help, we are regulated by Community Care Licensing – ask for Regency Manor’s LPA.

      • Samantha,

        I am looking for information on an old friend of mine who I heard became debilitated by schizophrenia and was living in a facility in Silverlake. Rumor has it that she died about six years ago, but I cannOT find any records of her death. Hoping you might recognize her name. She would be sixty this past July 26. Last name Taylor, and her first name rhymes with Laffy. If you know of her, I would love to talk with you. She was my dear sweet friend in jr high and high school. Only recently did I learn of her fate. Wondering if she may still be alive and how she is doing….or where she is buried. Hope this message finds you.

  11. I live close to the Gateway place, on Hoover Street. I note, that one, and probably the one on Descanso, are not geared to homeless people. They are halfway houses, not homes for the homeless — as in half way out of prison.

    I have never known of or even heard of any problem from the Gateway facility, despite vociferous complaints against it being built there. At least the original plan was to include several sex offenders released from prison. I doubt they are now allowed to have several under laws passed since it was built, so it would be people with other offenses. I think maybe some people with mental health problems, too.

    But I’ve never heard of any problem there since it was opened many years ago. I have no problem living near it, am actually happy to know people are being helped.

  12. Gateway is a mental health in-patient facility, and they have sections for adolescents and adults, I think – I live nearby too, and when the neighbor kid attempted suicide she was placed there, was very good for her because her family (as well as my daughter and I) could walk there and visit with her.

    The only time I had a sudden realization that the population there was a little bit different was once when I was taking the 200 bus, back when it went all the way up Echo Park – a group of men from Gateways got on at the stop S of Effie with me, and sat in the back and started singing “Row Row Row Your Boat” at the top of their lungs. Fun times in Echo Park.

  13. I live less than a mile from the Vendome building and my daughter attends Micheltorena Street School a few blocks away. My daughter often walks (by her self or with friends) to her friends houses near the project. And I am 100% in support of this project. I have worked with A Community of Friends on other neighborhood projects and professionally (I am a case worker at a homeless shelter) and find them to be a great organization. And due to the funding they are receiving they are not allowed to take sex offenders or folks with a felony with in the last 5 years.

  14. @ Knuckle:
    You were asking how to have your voice heard about this… You can attend the City Council meeting on Friday morning and ask for a speaker card and address the City Council about your concerns. i am thinking of doing this as well.

  15. I live about a block away from the proposed site and fully support the project. This kind of housing – which is guaranteed for extremely low income people – is exactly the kind of housing we need to get the homeless off the streets (@Kevin – I believe by accepting this money there is a long-term requirement that the housing be preserved for this population). ACOF has had great success in other parts of Los Angeles – the on-site services that they provide have helped those whom society has all but forgotten turn their lives around.

  16. Incredible how ignorant of the neighborhood these newbies be. There are more than a few halfway/homeless houses in this area. There is even one up close to my old place near Micheltorena. Its also good to know that NIMBYISM is alive and well in Silverlake. BTW, Gateways is in Echo Park, about two miles from the Silverlake border.

  17. The difference between Vendome Palms and the other facilities that are commonplace in our neighborhood, is that this one will be run my Homeless Los Angeles who has no experience running a residential facility. Their specialty is providing services (like clean needles) to homeless with drug and alcohol problems coming mostly from downtown. There will be no monitoring for behavior, no rehab, no curfews and little security. There are two bars and two liquor store within a block. The people who support this in this location CANNOT possibly live on this street or are not women with children. Anyone who thinks that there isn’t a higher crime ratio around these folks is dangerously naive. Am I a NIMBY? Hell, yes!

  18. Does anyone know if there is/are halfway housing exist in Los Feliz area? I see the individuals talking to themselves walking up & down Vermont Ave right in Los Feliz Village non-stop. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for many years and always accepted the way it is but I feel the number of that population is definitely increasing these days. Just wondering!

  19. First off: it’s Homeless Health Care Los Angeles (HHCLA).

    Second: HHCLA provide all kinds of services besides syringe exchange; that is a small portion of what they do. they also place people in housing, find them jobs, provide public benefits counseling, get people into school, health education, primary medical care, immunizations, advocacy, HIV/HCV/STD screenings. post HIV care, etc…

    Your argument that there is higher crime around “these folks” doesn’t hold water. Typically they are placed in neighborhoods that already have high crime rates (as nobody else wants them in their neighborhoods). If you have some verifiable proof to the contrary I’d like to see it. While Skid Row may have a higher crime rate than Silverlake, one needs to take into account the density of the population as well as the fact that there is far more of a police presence. If the police were as vigilant in other neighborhoods, there would be higher crime rates in those areas as well.

    Vendome has had problems associated with gangs and close proximity to multiple liquor stores as long as I can remember. I used to live at the top of the Laurel and Hardy staircase, and often people were afraid to visit my house because of the gangs. Obviously the neighborhood has gotten better since then and I understand your concerns. I have children and have many of the same concerns about safety as everyone else. I also work with the homeless and have concerns about the lack of resources/empathy available for these people. “Homeless,” “poor,” and “psychologically impaired” are not synonymous with “violent.” Although the homeless may be aesthetically challenging to some, it does not predispose them to violence.

    Something to consider: that building was a tenement before. If it wasn’t used for productive purposes (such as the Vendome Palms), it would either end up abandoned like the Bates Motel, or revert to it’s former tenement status. Who would buy it? I have a feeling that most people wouldn’t want to live in that building themselves.

    I just ask that you keep an open mind.

  20. Dear SH,
    Get a clue. Educate yourself. Open your eyes and your heart.

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