Architect’s Newspaper: The new 52-unit permanent supportive-housing project for formerly homeless individuals, many of them veterans, designed by Los Angeles firm Brooks + Scarpa, takes its name—The Six—from military slang for a person who “has your back.” The project is Skid Row Housing Trust (SRHT)’s first outside Downtown Los Angeles, and it continues the organization’s very successful run developing functional, neighborhood-scale, and formally transformative housing.
This week the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority released its 2017 Homeless Count results. The numbers are heartbreaking: an estimated 58,000 people are now homeless in Los Angeles County, a 23% increase from 2016.
Only hours later we celebrated the grand opening of the Trust’s newest property, Crest Apartments. 64 formerly homeless individuals with high health needs – 23 of whom are military veterans – now call Crest Apartments home. The Crest residents are among 14,000 homeless individuals housed throughout Los Angeles County last year.
Rising housing costs and stagnant wages across the County mean that many of our friends, family members, and neighbors are one crisis away from living on the street. We will not end homelessness until this economic crisis is addressed.
And yet I have hope for Los Angeles. Alongside our partners, Skid Row Housing Trust is ready to fight this extraordinary crisis. We have a pipeline of over 500 permanent supportive housing units in predevelopment – many of which are funded through the first round of Prop HHH bond measure funding made available by the City of Los Angeles. We are ensuring that our residents have access to the care and support they need to remain stably housed, and expect to take full advantage of more robust supportive programs that will be supported by Measure H and Whole Person Care in the years to come.
What can you do? Be an advocate for affordable housing and permanent supportive housing in your community. We need to create housing wherever homelessness is happening in Los Angeles – and it is happening everywhere. Elected officials and neighborhood representatives need to hear that you would welcome more housing options in your backyard.
Our work is not possible without your support. Donate now or set up your own fundraising campaign for Skid Row Housing Trust at skidrow.org/we-end-homelessness. Every dollar helps us provide stable homes that are the foundation of a healthy and fulfilling life.
CEO, Skid Row Housing Trust
Skid Row Housing Trust, a nationally-recognized developer of permanent supportive housing, celebrated the Grand Opening of its latest development, Crest Apartments, today. Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, U.S. Representative Tony Cárdenas, and Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian, as well as architect Michael Maltzan of Michael Maltzan Architecture spoke at the celebration, which was attended by formerly-homeless residents, key partners, and community supporters.
Crest Apartments provides 64 homes to Los Angeles County’s most vulnerable homeless individuals, with comprehensive onsite supportive services to help them build healthier and more stable lives. All of Crest Apartments’ permanent supportive housing is reserved for homeless individuals who are frequent utilizers of Los Angeles County’s Department of Health Services’ emergency care, including 23 apartments set aside specifically for homeless veterans. “Permanent supportive housing reduces residents’ reliance on expensive public health care, decreasing emergency room and inpatient admissions by 77%,” said Mike Alvidrez, the Trust’s Chief Executive Officer. “A home, when paired with appropriate support services, is the most effective and compassionate solution to homelessness, and ultimately reduces public costs.”
Crest Apartments is certified LEED for Homes Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council, public transit accessible, and within walking distance of many community resources. It is the Trust’s second development completed outside of Downtown Los Angeles, and is an example of the organization’s continued commitment to providing housing options for formerly homeless individuals. “We help people transition from chronic homelessness by offering a home that is healthy, inviting and dignified,” said Dana Trujillo, the Trust’s Chief Investment and Finance Officer. “Through extensive experience, we’ve found that the physical environment is an important part of the recovery and healing process.”
Designed by Michael Maltzan Architecture, Crest Apartments has inviting, light-filled spaces distributed throughout the five-story, 45,000 square-foot project. The building’s arched form stretches the length of the narrow site, lifting above a verdant landscape that stretches across the entire ground level. Resident community spaces and social service offices are located on this lower level. “The building’s architecture and landscape form an interwoven relationship between the building and its context, between inside and out,” notes architect Michael Maltzan. “This interconnected approach strengthens the environmental performance of the building. But more importantly, it creates a series of spaces and places for the residents to come together as a community.” Connected by broad open-air pathways, individual studio apartments are on the building’s upper levels. Each apartment includes a private bathroom, kitchen, appliances, and furnishings.
Between 2015 and 2016, the San Fernando Valley experienced a 36% increase in homeless individuals, one of the largest increases in the entire County. The Trust is partnering with San Fernando Valley-based L.A. Family Housing to provide comprehensive case management, and The John Stewart Company for property management services. Trust residents are connected with a wide array of services, including: physical healthcare services, mental health services, substance abuse and detoxification services, counseling, peer support groups, life skills and employment training.
Developer: Skid Row Housing Trust
Architect: Michael Maltzan Architecture
Contractor: Morley Builders/Benchmark Contractors
Service Provider: L.A. Family Housing
Property Management: The John Stewart Company
Levitt and Rosenblum
Curbed LA: Another major new affordable housing development may be on the way to Skid Row, where sleek new projects like Michael Maltzan’s Star Apartments have been rising lately amid the aging single resident occupancy hotels that have served residents for decades.
Skid Row Housing Trust’s The Six, a permanent supportive housing property designed by Brooks + Scarpa for formerly homeless individuals and veterans in MacArthur Park, receives the 2017 Institute Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) at the AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando, FL today. The Institute Honor Awards are AIA’s highest recognition for excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design. Selected from roughly 700 submissions, The Six is one of 23 recipients located throughout the world that are being honored this year. It is the only project selected in Southern California.
The Six will also receive a 2017 AIA Housing Design Award, which celebrates homes that combine beauty, safety, and sustainability. The Six is specifically recognized for affordable housing design that meets the specialized needs of residents. “The Six was designed from the ground up to facilitate healing and community both within and beyond the building’s walls,” said Mike Alvidrez, CEO of Skid Row Housing Trust.
The Six offers 52 beautiful, safe, and supportive homes to individuals who have experienced homelessness, with 18 of them set aside specifically for veterans. In the military, “got your six” means “I’ve got your back.” Brooks + Scarpa’s innovative design thoughtfully balances privacy with opportunities to connect with the community. The Six has onsite supportive services and 24-hour property management on the ground floor, and a spacious courtyard and community rooms on the second floor that offer peaceful respite and space for social gatherings. A bridge on the fifth floor spans the front of the courtyard, a gesture that helps to bring the scale of the building down to a more pedestrian level, and heightens the interior-exterior connectivity of the courtyard and streetscape. Incorporating energy-efficiency measures that exceed standard practice, including passive design strategies that maximize natural light and airflow, The Six received LEED Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Located in MacArthur Park, Los Angeles, The Six is a striking addition to a neighborhood that has one of highest population densities the United States. It is an example of the innovative projects Measure HHH could help fund throughout the City of Los Angeles. “We intentionally design our buildings so that they stand out as iconic, community-serving, architectural landmarks,” said Dana Trujillo, the Trust’s Chief Investment and Finance Officer. “We want to tell residents that they are important through the building that’s now their home.”
In partnership with Central City Association (CCA), the Trust hosted a Community Exchange Day on Friday, April 21st at the Star Apartments. CCA members and Trust residents participated in a myriad of activities together, including meditation, gardening, and pickleball. Piece by Piece held mosaic workshops, and L.A. Kitchen‘s culinary job training students made everyone lunch. The day gave CCA members insight into proven strategies that address homelessness, like permanent supportive housing, and demonstrated the array of supportive programs that help residents heal and build a sustainable life.
Addressing homelessness is one of CCA’s top priorities, and the exchange day is part of a larger campaign to connect CCA members to programs that serve the community. “Participating in the CCA event at Star Apartments was an incredible experience. The level of expertise in the individuals leading the workshops and the end game of empowering formerly homeless individuals was inspiring,” commented Sara Soudani of Commonwealth Land Title. “I enjoyed being a part of the Piece by Piece art workshop and appreciated learning that low-income individuals can enroll in classes at no charge and then have their work displayed in art galleries.”
Held at various Trust buildings throughout the week, Peer 4 Peer is a support group that gives residents space to talk about issues that affect them. The Trust’s Peer Advocates facilitate the groups to create an environment that is open and compassionate. “We make sure the conversation keeps going,” said Peer Advocate Anthony Haynes. “We are not there to do all the talking, but to make sure everyone is respectful and can share their thoughts.”
Trained in psycho-social education techniques, Peer Advocates are current Trust residents that have experienced homelessness and are successfully housed. The Trust launched the Peer Advocate program to offer additional support to new residents during the critical first 90 days of transitioning from homelessness into housing. Having gone through the transition themselves, Peer Advocates offer mentorship and guidance to new residents based on firsthand experience. They help new residents connect to the wider community by inviting them to participate in weekly groups like Peer 4 Peer.
A supportive community is critical for leading healthy and full life, and Peer 4 Peer is a part of creating that support network. “Group members feel more comfortable in a space with peers,” said Stacey Hartnett, the Trust’s Health and Wellness Coordinator. “They can talk openly about struggles with substance use or mental illness, and gain strength from other residents who may have experienced similar challenges.”