Cobbling together financing for and building low-income housing is a Herculean feat. Yet veteran developer Skid Row Housing Trust topped itself in May, when it opened the 69-unit New Pershing Apartments. The $28 million project at Fifth and Main streets transformed the old Pershing Hotel, built in 1889, and the Roma, from 1905, into a single five-story structure. The design from Killefer Flammang Architects managed to make the complex modern while preserving the Victorian façade. It is instantly a model for both low-income housing and any future historic building renovation.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas presented a commendation to Skid Row Housing Trust to celebrate our innovative Star Apartments. The building was recently named one of the 25 Best Inventions of 2015 by TIME Magazine for launching permanent supportive housing into a new era of design for health, wellness and community revitalization. The Star is a nationally recognized model studied by organizations and local governments seeking to address the root causes of homelessness in their respective communities. “Enhancing the pipeline of quality affordable housing for all residents, especially our most vulnerable, has become one of the most pressing issues of our time,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “The homeless crisis that exists in Los Angeles County requires a bold new vision and Star Apartments is a defining example of what can and must be done.”
Star Apartments is the product of Skid Row Housing Trust’s pioneering partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS). DHS funds case management and supportive services at Star Apartments, and in exchange it identifies and refers individuals to the Star who are homeless and frequent utilizers of its emergency healthcare services. This partnership not only saves lives, but also saves the public millions of dollars that would otherwise be spent on inpatient and emergency care.
Designed by the world-renowned and award-winning Michael Maltzan Architecture, Star Apartments is an iconic building that aims to inspire residents and the surrounding community. A LEED for Homes Platinum development, the Star features 102 units of permanent supportive housing terraced above a Health & Wellness Center, which includes a community kitchen, art room, running/walking track, and exercise space. Residents can also enjoy a raised community garden, and multiple outdoor patio spaces for group activities. On the ground floor, the Star houses a clinic operated by DHS, which serves both Star residents and the surrounding community. It is also headquarters for DHS’ Housing for Health Division, a ground-breaking team that is committed to funneling resources towards the most critical determinant of health: housing.
Construction has begun on Skid Row Southeast 1, a project to renovate Las Americas Hotel Apartments and Olympia Hotel Apartments, two of our buildings in Downtown Los Angeles. Renovations at both buildings will focus on improving energy efficiency, reducing water usage, and extending each building’s life. The project will also focus on updating housing amenities and enhancing common areas for current and future residents. Major improvements include installing an elevator at Las Americas, reconfiguring the courtyard and kitchen at Olympia, and creating new spaces for supportive services in both buildings. Renovations are expected to be complete by the end of 2016.
Construction is complete for the Six Apartments, a new affordable housing complex in MacArthur Park targeted at veterans and chronically homeless individuals.
LA Downtowner: For the last 25 years, the Skid Row Housing Trust (SRHT) has been committed to converting SRO’s (single resident occupancy) and otherwise dilapidated hotels into high quality apartments for Downtown’s homeless. Their ‘Housing First’ philosophy sees providing housing as the first step in ending the homelessness cycle.
TIME: For decades, housing for the homeless has too often meant transient shelters or warehouse-like abodes. L.A.’s Star Apartments aims to buck that trend by design; it functions more like a minivillage than a single building, says Maltzan of his third collaboration with Skid Row Housing Trust, a local nonprofit. In addition to 102 prefabricated studios, which are ingeniously staggered into four terraced stories, Star Apartments offers a ground-floor medical clinic and, above that, a garden, an outdoor running track and space for classrooms. The goal, says Maltzan, is to make the residents of its 300-sq.-ft. units—who are handpicked by the county department of health services—feel “like they’re part of a dynamic and intimate community,” a strategy that can help people, especially those struggling with homelessness and substance-abuse issues, re-establish stability in their lives.
The Architect’s Newspaper: The Star Apartments are Michael Maltzan Architecture’s third project for the Skid Row Housing Trust in downtown Los Angeles. In contrast to the firm’s 2009 New Carver Apartments—a sleek white cylinder with sharply faceted bays—Star is a rough-edged, asymmetrical stack of prefabricated units rising from an existing single-story podium of retail spaces.
KPCC: Los Angles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday promised he would release a plan in August that would be a blueprint to end homelessness in Los Angeles.
V3LLUM: There is no arguing that Los Angeles is currently neck deep in a housing crisis at the moment. The costs of renting any-where in the city are quickly spiraling out of control and this forces many people and families onto the streets. The New Carver Homes apartments are an attempt at providing affordable housing to those most in need. The building is made up of 96 units, each a studio with a small kitchen, built around a central courtyard space. The New Carver Homes Apartments offer the disadvantaged a place to get back on their feet with things like wifi, laundry facilities, etc. and does so without managing to look like a prison. It’s a win/win.