Nonprofit Acquires Third LA Property to House Homeless Veterans
Serene Haven Inc., a nonprofit that acquires and renovates residential properties to provide housing to homeless military veterans and their families, has acquired a property located on West 54th Street in Los Angeles.
By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Los Angeles—Serene Haven Inc., a nonprofit that acquires and renovates residential properties to provide housing to homeless military veterans and their families, has acquired a property located on West 54th Street in Los Angeles. The mixed-use property is made up of 15 apartment units situated above eight retail spaces, and will also include space that will become a field office for the Serene Haven organization.
Social services, including mental health counseling, physical therapy, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and job placement services, are available to all veterans who reside at Serene Haven facilities, including the newly acquired 54th Street property. The organization also provides transportation to resident veterans in the form of shuttle service.
This is the third LA-area residential facility the organization has acquired to house veterans in the last two years, according to Matthew J. Heslin, chairman of Serene Haven Inc., and partner in Heslin Becker Properties. Heslin, a local real estate developer, co-founded the organization two years ago, investing about $3 million of his own money to get it up and running.
Serene Haven also owns and operates apartment complexes on Arlington Ave. and Ridgeley Drive in Los Angeles. These properties have been completely remodeled and are fully occupied by veterans and their families.
The mixed-use nature of the 54th Street property, however, is unlike the others, and will allow the organization to provide on-site opportunities for job placement and job training to assist residents. The residents’ rents will be subsidized by vouchers provided by HUD and the VA.
Heslin puts the number of homeless veterans in Los Angeles County at 20,000. Many of them, it seems, have been drawn to southern California by the mild climate. Often homeless veterans are bedeviled by post-traumatic stress syndrome, other mental health problems, and drug and alcohol abuse, and end up without a place to live. Heslin further posits that as many as 14,000 more former soldiers may be facing homelessness in the near future, now that the conflict in Iraq has wound down, and that troops are being drawn down from Afghanistan.