Here's a Look Inside LA's New $600,000 to $700,000 Condos for the Homeless
Sure, most of us can't afford a $600,000 condo in a trendy neighborhood, in one of the most expensive places to live in the country. But if you're homeless in Los Angeles, a condo can be yours!
The new condo development is the first of 118 projects to be built over the next six years to house the homeless and other needy people in Los Angeles, California, according to the mayor's office.
There are studio apartments and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with decent-sized kitchens.
The first recipient of a $600,000 condo was a family with five children:
Last summer, USA Today reported that between the costs imposed by regulations and real estate prices and spiffs, such as fitness centers and homeless services, the costs for these homes are prohibitive:
"[The homeless] will receive keys to one of 72 new apartments,complete with a fitness center, in the heart of trendy Koreatown, built at a projected cost of $690,692 for each unit, according to the city controller's office. Two additional projects in the pre-approval phase are expected to top $700,000 per unit in total costs.
"This kind of cost is utterly unacceptable," Controller Ron Galperin said. "I believe we need a fundamental course correction."
The median cost of housing in LA is $618,000, less than most of the units are costing taxpayers.
But at the rate the city is building and with droves of homeless people making their way to California, there's a problem.
Can you guess what that might be?
The Los Angeles Times reports that homeless advocates are already declaring the 118 projects as not enough:
"This is just the beginning,” said Elise Buik, president and chief executive of United Way of Greater Los Angeles, which was a major backer of Proposition HHH and the Measure H countywide sales tax for homeless services. The initial public campaign for the ballot measure had promised 10,000 units in 10 years. To meet that goal, the city would have to build another 300 housing units a year using other funding."
That's right, what they're building now is not going to be good enough.
LA residents will be asked for more than $1.2 billion:
"Even that goal of 10,000 units is now too small, as it was based on past homeless counts when the population was smaller. With the number of people living in tents and makeshift shelters on the city’s streets ballooning to 27,000 out of 36,000 overall, and the number of chronically homeless Angelenos increasing, the current pace of construction is not keeping up."
And there's more.
In addition to giving thousands of people housing, there will be the maintenance and upkeep and – oh yes – the rent subsidies that also come from the pockets of citizens:
"The mayor's office said monthly rents at the 88th and Vermont development will range from $473 for a studio unit to $703 per month for a three-bedroom apartment. Rent subsidies for tenants will be provided by a Los Angeles County Department subsidy pool program and the Housing Authority of the city of Los Angeles through housing vouchers."
A scathing audit last year found the costs of the housing to be outrageous and could have been put to better use building shelters.
In the meantime, the race in the City of Angels to build expensive condos for homeless people continues apace. And it will never be enough. As we learned from experience and in the microcosm of Middletown, Ohio (see my story nearby), if you build it and make it easy, soon you'll outstrip your supply of generosity.
Check them out yourself: