Nonprofit LINC Housing Corp. continues to meet the housing needs of transition-age youths, including some who have aged out of the foster care system. It opened its second development serving this population in Los Angeles County in February.
Mosaic Gardens at Huntington Park provides fresh starts and stable housing for 15 transition-age youths, aged 18 to 24, as well as nine low-income families.
“There’s an incredible need,” says Hunter Johnson, LINC Housing's president and CEO. “We saw with the first one what an impact it had on the young people’s lives and how important it was to provide a stable base for them so they could get their lives in order, get an education, and get solidly planted for a successful future.”
Johnson adds that many of the transition-age youths at Mosaic Gardens at Huntington Park had been homeless, ranging from couch surfing at friends’ homes to living on the streets, and a number of positive stories have started to come to light in the months since the young adults moved into the service-enriched housing.
One such resident is Shonn, a 23-year-old who had been homeless off and on for several years. He was in and out of the foster care system and the juvenile detention system starting at age 7. At age 17, he began sleeping on the streets when his mother kicked him out.
But he became committed to turning his life around and connected with his caseworker about finding stable housing. On Feb. 1, he moved into Mosaic Gardens at Huntington Park and has recently started job training to become a peer advocate to help others in similar situations.
“Supportive housing gives people hope, especially younger people coming from my background. It gives them the sense that someone cares,” says Shonn. “I’m really grateful for having this. I feel that now I can save up money, I can succeed, I can get a car, I can go to college, I can do everything that I’m meant to do.”
In addition to services some residents receive from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, LINC Housing offers a host of services through its LINC Cares program. The nonprofit also provided furniture and other necessities for residents who moved in with few possessions through its Welcome Home initiative.
Residents earn 30 percent and 50 percent of the area median income, and the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles has provided project-based vouchers for 15 special-needs units so those residents will spend no more than 30 percent of their income on rent.
The LEED Platinum development replaces an old derelict motel in Huntington Park with a mix of 24 studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units; community space; counseling offices; and a play area for children.
Featuring a solar hot water preheating system, a cool roof, Energy Star appliances, drought-tolerant landscaping, and high-efficiency lighting, the development exceeds California’s Title 24 guidelines for energy efficiency by 34 percent.
The $10 million Mosaic Gardens at Huntington Park was financed primarily with low-income tax credit equity from Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, Mental Health Services Act funding from the Los Angeles County and California departments of mental health, and HOME funds from the city of Huntington Park. Other financing included a construction loan from U.S. Bank, an Affordable Housing Program loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, Los Angeles County General Fund/Homeless Service Center funds, a JPMorgan Chase grant, a city of Huntington Park fee waiver, and a grant from the Ahmanson Foundation.