EAST LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Delmy Hernandez had a hard time finding a job with flexible enough hours to allow her to raise her 6- and 7-year-old children. Today she manages her home, and her own business, Sweets Event Décor, from her live-work unit at Alta Vista Apartments, a new 60-unit community in East L.A. that is redefining affordable housing.
While raising three children in her mom’s bedroom, Patricia Bermudez had a vision of becoming a professional wardrobe consultant. Today she has her own place, and her own business. “Once they gave me the keys, it was over. I was like, ‘I won the lottery,’” says Bermudez, who sells men’s and women’s clothing and accessories from her live-work unit at Alta Vista.
A partnership of National Community Renaissance and the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC), Alta Vista combines affordable living with access to employment – all within a state-of-the-art design that was named “Best Workforce Housing” at the National Association of Homebuilders’ Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Awards.
Grand opening will be held Thursday, Sept. 12.
“The affordable-housing crisis in this country is about more than who can or cannot afford shelter,” said Steve PonTell, president and chief executive officer of National CORE. “It has broad economic and social implications, which, along with our partners at ELACC and the James Worthy Foundation, we’re taking bold steps to address at Alta Vista.”
ELACC President Maria Cabildo said, “Alta Vista is a prime example of the value of workforce housing, providing high-quality shelter along with the opportunity for residents to improve their economic situation. Live-work units and access to transportation are critical elements to self-sufficiency, and we’re proud to be partners in this effort.”
Among the integrated features at Alta Vista are 11 ground-floor, live-work units set aside for small home businesses, and two floors of underground parking. The is also located directly across from the Gold Line, allowing many residents to commute to and from work.
Protecting the environment is another key element of the Alta Vista story. In addition to promoting mass transit, the community meets rigorous and highly coveted LEED Silver standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council.
“The environmental stewardship that this project represents is truly remarkable, and a significant priority for us as one of the largest national nonprofit developers of affordable housing,” said PonTell. “There are only a few developers in the country that could have built a community like this.”
National CORE and ELACC received more than 4,000 applications for the 59 units available and 125 applications for the live-work units. As part of National CORE’s Economic Development program, residents who are small business owners only pay for their living space and are offered onsite assistance with small business development.
National CORE’s Hope through Housing Foundation and ELACC manage the Community Center, offering classes for residents and the local community in family economic mobility and small business development. ELACC and the Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment of Los Angeles (PACE-LA) offer programs including asset and wealth building, career assistance, business development services, community organizing and afterschool tutoring.
Alta Vista, located at 5051 E. Third St. in unincorporated East Los Angeles, is among more than 80 National CORE affordable-housing projects serving individuals, families and seniors. In all, CORE manages 8,800 units in California, Arkansas, Texas and Florida, and through its Hope through Housing subsidiary has provided more than 2 million hours in supportive services to enhance quality of life, including preschool, afterschool and senior wellness programs. For more information, visit www.nationalcore.org.
The East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) is a community development corporation serving the residents of Boyle Heights and Unincorporated East LA with programs in affordable housing, homebuyer education, financial literacy, and community leadership development. For more information, visit www.elacc.org.
Other partners in the development of Alta Vista include the James Worthy Foundation, County of Los Angeles Community Development Commission, the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, Hudson Housing Capital, the California Department of Housing and Community Development, Los Angeles County 1st District Supervisor Gloria Molina, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Enterprise Community Partners and the California Community Reinvestment Corp.