In the years leading up to 2010, Los Angeles-based A Community of Friends had been aggressive in its pipeline of supportive-housing developments.
But that caught up to the developer. “2010 was not a great year for us,” says CEO Dora Leong Gallo. “We had no starts or completions, one whole year of nothing.”
Meanwhile, the firm had a pipeline of 10 projects that started moving last year. “Several got into construction in 2011, and two others have started construction in January,” she says.
The three projects that the nonprofit started last year all have unique qualities. Osborne Place in the Pacoima neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley will house families who have been homeless and whose heads of household have a mental disability. The Willis Avenue Apartments in Panorama City in the San Fernando Valley is the first time the developer has focused a special-needs project on only older seniors. The formerly homeless older adults will have access to a fitness center and a rose garden.
And the nonprofit partnered with AMCAL Multi-Housing, Inc., to break ground on Avenida Villas in Orange County, when the for-profit changed the project from serving families to serving those with special needs and needed a partner with expertise in supportive housing.
“We are in a unique position as a supportive-housing developer to continue with the pipeline we have,” says Gallo. “Our impact on people's lives has been great.”