Los Angeles–For Los Angeles County’s homeless veterans, a much underserved population, a new option will soon sprout in the city of Inglewood now that ground has broken on Westside Residence Hall II in Inglewood, Calif. Cloudbreak Inglewood L.L.C., a member of the Cantwell-Anderson Inc. family of companies, is behind the development of the $34.9 million, 196-unit permanent affordable housing property.
Westside Residence Hall II will mark an expansion of the 17-year-old Westside Residence Hall, which features 350 permanent housing units and 150 transitional housing units. The new addition will consist of 148 studio apartments and 48 single-room occupancy units, which will share a common living and dining space. The property will also feature a parking facility and ground-level space to accommodate rehabilitation, job training and counseling activities, as well as educational services.
“There are very few affordable housing options for veterans in Los Angeles,” Tim Cantwell, manager of Cloudbreak Inglewood and president of Westside Residence Hall Inc., tells MHN. “There’s some transitional housing and time-limited permanent housing, but I can’t think of another permanent housing facility for homeless veterans.”
Westside Residence Hall II will certainly help fill a great void in permanent affordable housing for veterans; however, despite ongoing demand, that void has decreased over the years and continues to shrink, slowly but surely. “The homeless veteran population is going down because of the concentration of attention and resources on the issue over the last 18 years,” Cantwell notes. “In Los Angeles County in 1992, there were 64,000 homeless people, of which 24,000 were estimated to be veterans, and the system that served veterans was almost all shelters.” And those shelters, he adds, reserved only a minute fraction of beds specifically for homeless veterans.
But time has improved the dire state of affairs. “Today in L.A. County, there are about 2,000 beds directed specifically to vets, and permanent housing is being added through the voucher program,” he says. “Most of those resources have been put in place in the last 12 years and the outcome has been terrific. The homeless veterans count has gone down as a result of focus and allocation of resources, and now those resources are being boosted significantly with the expectation of eliminating homelessness among veterans altogether.”
Cloudbreak Inglewood obtained financing for Westside Residence Hall II through a variety of sources. The company secured $19.9 million from the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee through the American Recovery Reinvestment Act; $7.5 million via the California Housing & Development Infill Infrastructure Program; $7.4 million from the City of Inglewood Redevelopment Agency; and $11 million in bridge funding from Wilshire State Bank.
Across the country, resources provided through federal and local government and other programs–programs conceived years ago–are addressing the plight of homeless veterans. “Nationally, the focus is to deliver permanent housing with wraparound services, and plans of implementation occurring now were laid in place about a decade ago.”
Construction of Westside Residence Hall II, which will create approximately 300 temporary construction jobs, will become a permanent home to veterans in need in 18 months.