Unincorporated East Los Angeles, Calif. – On September 30, 2021, National Community Renaissance (National CORE) and its development partners celebrated the groundbreaking of a stunning 78-unit affordable housing community. The new transit-oriented housing is being built on six county-owned lots at 3rd St. and Dangler Avenue that have sat vacant for decades. The ceremony was attended by East LA residents, leaders of nearly a dozen community-based organizations, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, and Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA) Executive Director Emilio Salas, all of whom have been actively involved in the planning, design, and development process.
Prior to construction, the team at National CORE worked with Supervisor Solis’ office and other community organizations to engage hundreds of local residents to understand their hopes and dreams for the neighborhood. Outreach began with information booths at local events, where National CORE team members answered questions, received input, and encouraged residents to get involved. The team requested input from residents at local bakeries and restaurants, at meetings hosted by community-based organizations, during scheduled one-on-one meetings, and by knocking on doors. As part of the County’s Community Benefits Agreement led by the Health Innovation Community Partnership (HICP), residents interested in the development were encouraged to attend bi-monthly meetings and join planning committees. Their feedback led National CORE to double the size of the underground parking, adjust the building design, and add more landscaping.
“We wanted to make sure that our future neighbors were excited about the new community and had the opportunity to have a voice in the final design,” said National CORE President/CEO Steve PonTell. “This is an established neighborhood with a rich history. We wanted to make sure to honor the needs of this community while bringing much-needed affordable housing, access to programs and services, and local investment.”
This transit-oriented community, adjacent to the Metro Gold Line and two bus lines, has helped bring investment to the region in the areas of sustainable transit, green space, and local art. A grant from the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) provided $23.8 million for the development and nearby transit improvements. This is the first time that SGC funds have been invested in unincorporated LA County, allowing LA Metro to add new bus shelters, make street improvements, and add five electric, zero-emissions buses to increase the service frequency and quality of nearby bus routes. The grant will also promote increased bicycle ridership by funding an onsite bike share and safety education program, run by community-based organization People for Mobility Justice.
“Congratulations to National CORE and the many partners and community members who have collaborated to transform this previously unused land into 78 new transit-oriented homes that will create a more sustainable, healthy, and prosperous East LA,” said Lynn von Koch-Liebert, Executive Director of the Strategic Growth Council. “The State of California recognizes and appreciates public-private partnerships like this one that has brought the county, state, an accomplished nonprofit developer, investors, and the local community together to transform vacant land into vibrant, sustainable housing.”
Upon completion in 2023, the development will provide 20 studios, 49 one-bedrooms, and 8 two-bedrooms, each affordable to individuals and families earning under 60% of the area median income. Thirty-nine of the apartment homes will be reserved for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness.
“This project is in line with my continued commitment to combat and prevent homelessness by fully utilizing County assets for community benefit,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District. “This development will offer many East Los Angeles families a vibrant, livable community with easy access to public transit. Promoting and supporting these kinds of sustainable housing projects is the most effective way to combat our region’s homelessness crisis. Through this unique public-private partnership, National CORE, the California Strategic Growth Council, and Los Angeles County will create a more inclusive neighborhood that will meet the needs of all residents.”
Guided by the vision of local residents, the community has been designed to visually complement the surrounding neighborhood, with bright, colorful architecture. To highlight the unique cultural history and contemporary happenings of East Los Angeles, National CORE has commissioned Boyle Heights artist Stephanie Mercado to create a 30-foot mural on the building’s facade which will be called East Los Luv. The mural will incorporate elements and images gathered through a community engagement process.
The 3rd and Dangler development would not have been possible without the trust and support of National CORE’s longtime financial partner Chase, which is providing $32 million in construction financing and $5 million in permanent financing, and Hudson Housing Capital and Fannie Mae, which are providing more than $18 million in LIHTC investment.
“The demand for affordable housing in East Los Angeles has never been higher which makes this project on 3rd and Dangler so meaningful and impactful for the entire community,” said James Vossoughi, Vice President of Community Development Banking for Chase. “We’re excited to support a development that invests in the neighborhood’s long-term affordable housing that will also enable a more sustainable and transit-oriented future.”
Residents will enjoy an array of amenities, including a community center, outdoor playground, rooftop garden, public plaza with local art, interior courtyard, and adjacent pocket park. They will also have access to supportive services provided by the Hope through Housing Foundation and PATH Los Angeles, which will include after-school programs, financial coaching, and support for residents who had experienced homelessness. LACDA, in addition to providing land to build this new community, also provided $6.7 million in Affordable Housing Trust Funds and 39 project-based vouchers to subsidize the permanent supportive housing for residents formerly experiencing homelessness.
“Our mission to Build Better Lives and Better Neighborhoods helps to increase Los Angeles County’s affordable housing options and stimulate economic development for neighborhoods, creating a better quality of life for residents,” said Emilio Salas, LACDA Executive Director. “This affordable community will do all that and more by offering everything from affordable housing and public transit to parks and local art. The County, State, and National CORE set out to create a development that truly benefits the local community, and I believe we have done that here.”
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About National Community Renaissance (National CORE)
National CORE is one of the nation’s premier affordable housing developers, building award-winning communities and creating a platform for individual and community change. National CORE creates strong, healthy communities where residents can thrive. In partnership with the Hope through Housing Foundation, National CORE provides impactful resident programs and services to help children and teens achieve success, improve families’ financial well-being, and promote senior health and wellness. For more information on National CORE, please visit www.nationalcore.org.
Jill Van Balen