The Avenue Hotel in East Hollywood is now Avenida, a Project Homekey homeless facility. | Photo courtesy of Holos Communities
A new 75-unit permanent supportive housing facility built under the state’s Project Homekey program was unveiled Thursday at a former hotel in East Hollywood, with officials from Los Angeles County and the city of LA touting that it was completed in one-third the time and for two-thirds the cost of typical affordable housing projects.
The project’s developer was Cristian Ahumada, executive director and CEO of Holos Communities, who was joined by LA County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, LA City Councilman Hugo Soto-Martínez and other officials for the grand opening of Avenida, which was formerly the Avenue Hotel.
Ahumada said in a statement that, amid the homelessness crisis, more efforts should be taken to purchase and develop vacant buildings for housing.
“We need to see city, county and state collaboration like this every day if we are going to build enough housing to meet the needs of unhoused and rent-burdened Angelenos,” Ahumada said.
Project Homekey, the state’s COVID-era program, helps developers purchase and convert underutilized hotels and motels into permanent supportive housing. The streamlined process reduced the time required for projects such as Avenida to gather the necessary resources.
“On any given night, over 3,000 unhoused people are living on the streets of our district because affordable housing and social services are becoming increasingly difficult to find,” said Soto-Martínez, whose 10th District includes the Avenida site.
“This project shows that when we work together across all levels of government along with the nonprofit and private sectors, we can actually make meaningful, lasting change for our communities.”
Horvath touted Avenida as an example of ongoing work by the city and county to identify and rehabilitate existing properties for housing.
“I proudly welcome Avenida to the Third District, L.A. County’s first Homekey Round 2 Permanent Supportive Housing project to complete construction,” Horvath said in a statement. “An underutilized former hotel is now offering a fresh start and hope to 75 of our unhoused neighbors.”
Avenida’s funding was comprised of $25.2 million in Project Homekey dollars from the California departments of Housing & Community Development, and Business, Consumer Services and Housing for capital improvements.
The county provided $11.8 million, and $1.7 million came from the California Community Reinvestment Corporation. Additionally, the county’s Department of Health Services will contribute $405,000 a year for health-related services, officials said.