The Six, a new affordable housing development serving formerly homeless veterans in Los Angeles, is aptly named.

In the military, “got your six” means “I’ve got your back.” The latest development by Skid Row Housing Trust does just that for its residents.

The Six in Los Angeles is Skid Row Housing Trust’s first development with permanent supportive housing specifically for veterans.
The Six in Los Angeles is Skid Row Housing Trust’s first development with permanent supportive housing specifically for veterans.

The Six, which celebrated its grand opening this month, provides 52 units of permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless veterans and disabled individuals. It’s the longtime affordable housing developer’s first building with units specifically for veterans.

"Los Angeles has the highest number of homeless veterans in the nation," says Dana Trujillo, Skid Row Housing Trust's chief real estate officer. "The Trust provides high-quality homes for people experiencing homelessness, and we are compelled and honored to help those who have bravely served our country by offering veterans a home at The Six."

In the 2015 point-in-time estimates, there were 4,016 homeless veterans in L.A. That’s more than twice the next largest number, New York City with 1,558 homeless vets.

Located in the MacArthur Park neighborhood, The Six is also significant because it is the Trust’s first building completed outside of downtown Los Angeles. Prior to the new development, the organization’s entire building portfolio was located in downtown—and, for the most part, in the organization's namesake neighborhood: Skid Row.

The Trust is expanding its reach to create more supportive and affordable housing options for the 44,000 homeless individuals throughout Los Angeles County.

"With the development of The Six, the Trust is showing that its successful model based on Housing First and harm reduction is not limited to any one neighborhood," says CEO Mike Alvidrez. "While the Trust continues to operate and expand its housing in downtown Los Angeles, The Six opened the doors for the Trust to share its expertise with other parts of the city."

Financed with low-income housing tax credits, the new development has on-site supportive services and 24-hour property management, as well as landscaped courtyards and gardens that offer peaceful respite and space for social gatherings.

Like several of the organization’s other recent developments, The Six features a bold look. Designed by Brooks + Scarpa, the new building has an opening in front that allows residents to look out into the neighborhood. This connects them with their surroundings and creates an open, airy feeling.

With their projects, Trust leaders have been making a statement that architecture is important even when serving formerly homeless residents. Good design may be even more critical for this vulnerable population as it can help residents in their recovery by promoting social interaction and other activities.

With solar thermal panels, Energy Star appliances, water-efficient fixtures, and environmentally friendly building materials, The Six has received LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. All of The Six's units are equipped with a private bathroom, kitchen, appliances and furnishings to foster independence and ownership by residents.

Officials say the total project investment is $16.7 million. The financing partners include the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, Century Housing, Citi Community Capital, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, Local Initiatives Support Corp., Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department, National Equity Fund, and Wells Fargo Bank.