LB celebrates grand opening of supportive-housing complex for homeless veterans, low-income families

The five-story development includes 75 units for vets and 45 units for extremely low-income residents

Photos by Cory Bilicko | Signal Tribune
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia addresses those in attendance Monday morning at the grand opening of Anchor Place, a 120-unit supportive housing development for families and veterans experiencing homelessness.

The City of Long Beach on Nov. 6 moved another step closer to its goal of having zero homeless veterans when officials celebrated the grand opening of Anchor Place, a 120-unit supportive-housing development for families and former military members experiencing homelessness.

In the new complex– the result of a partnership between the City, the Long Beach Community Investment Company (LBCIC) and the nonprofit Century Housing Corporation– residents will have access to comprehensive on-site supportive services that include case management, physical and mental health services, employment services, life-skills training and counseling, according to officials.

Seventy-five project-based Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers that the Housing Authority of the City of Long Beach (HACLB) provides and Housing for Health, a County of Los Angeles flexible-housing subsidy program, are subsidizing the residents’ rents. The vouchers will account for $720,000 each year, or a total of $10.8 million, to guarantee housing support for homeless veterans for an initial 15-year period.

The five-story development, which is located within the Century Villages at Cabrillo (CVC) community, includes 75 units for homelesss veterans and 45 units for very low-income residents, and it includes a combination of one-, two- and three-bedroom units, open space and courtyard recreational areas.

Carrie Hawkins, a founding board member of Century Housing Corporation, was among the speakers during the grand opening of Anchor Place, and she described how the complex has been completely revamped over the years.

“For those of you who aren’t familiar– or it’s your first time here– you cannot believe the transformation that has taken place,” Hawkins said. “From dilapidated buildings and totally destroyed infrastructure, we now have this beautiful community for people to live and enjoy life. It’s taken hard work and commitment from a lot of people.”

Brian D’Andrea, senior vice president of Century Housing Corporation, also addressed the crowd assembled at Monday morning’s event, which he called “a special moment.”

“Today marks the completion of a more than four-year journey, during which a tremendous amount of energy, creativity, hard work, sweat, pride, love, some tears have been invested into creating this beautiful place,” D’Andrea said. “Looking around, I see so many friends and family members, colleagues, coworkers, stakeholders, people that have played incredibly important roles in delivering these 120 homes. Today’s our opportunity to acknowledge your efforts, express our sincere gratitude and, despite some of the unavoidably grim news that surrounds us, today we celebrate the hope and healing and respite that these homes represent for our residents, some of whom are here today.”

The audience for the grand opening of Anchor Place, a 120-unit supportive housing development for families and veterans experiencing homelessness

During the event, Mayor Robert Garcia said one of the things that give him a feeling of pride as he walks through Anchor Place is that it is a development that could exist anywhere in the city.

“It’s quality housing. It’s supportive housing,” Garcia said. “It has an architecture that any neighborhood could be proud to showcase. And the fact that we treat and respect our veterans and folks that are experiencing homelessness with the quality level of this project, I think, says a lot about everyone involved in this project, but also about how we view and should treat people that are experiencing homelessness.”

The mayor added that supporting veterans experiencing homelessness is an undertaking that involves everyone.

“We know in Long Beach that solving the challenge of homelessness– and certainly solving the challenge to ensure that veterans have the dignity and respect of the sacrifice they made to us and to our country– is a community effort,” he said, before thanking the numerous entities affiliated with the new housing development, which is an inaugural awardee of the State’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program that is funded through proceeds of the California’s cap-and-trade auctions. The funds, along with grant money from private foundations, will support the relocation of the Long Beach Transit bus stop located just outside the Anchor Place development into the center of the CVC grounds.

Funding for the new complex was provided by: a loan from The LBCIC; construction financing from Wells Fargo Bank; an Affordable Housing Program loan; a Mental Health Services Act loan through the County of Los Angeles Department of Mental Health and the California Housing Finance Agency; financing from the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program through the State of California and the Strategic Growth Council; grants from the County of Los Angeles Community Development Commission, the Ahmanson Foundation, the Home Depot Foundation and the 11th Hour Foundation; a permanent loan from the California Community Reinvestment Corporation; and an equity investment by Wells Fargo through an allocation of tax credits from the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee.

Organizers of the event Monday distributed a 2017 social-impact report on the Villages at Cabrillo that indicates the complex and its partners significantly contribute to the reduction of the local cost of homelessness that communities and government would otherwise bear.

The report states that the average monthly public cost of providing for a homeless individual outside of supportive housing would be $2,897, whereas the estimated monthly cost for a person to live at the Villages is $837.
More information on Century Villages at Cabrillo is available at centuryvillages.org.

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