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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Luxury 19-story apartment for homeless opens in downtown LA

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A 19-story luxury apartment building aimed at housing the homeless has opened in downtown Los Angeles, making headlines.

On June 19, the grand opening of Weingart Tower, LA’s largest permanent housing project for the homeless, took place. Located at 6th and San Pedro Street, this apartment complex is designed to relocate individuals living on the streets without shelter.

“Skid Row is a community,” said Mayor Karen Bass during Wednesday’s event. “It’s not just throw-away people. It is a community, and to bring that community together in beautiful housing like this is what everybody deserves.”


Karen Bass, the Mayor of LA, and other officials cut the ribbon during the grand opening event. [LA Mayor’s Office]

Despite its designation as low-income housing, the high construction costs of this apartment have sparked ongoing controversy. Weingart Tower was funded by Proposition HHH, state housing funds, and $56 million in state tax credits, totaling $165 million.

The 19-story building comprises 228 studio units and 47 one-bedroom units, equipped with amenities such as a gym, art room, music room, computer room, and library. Additionally, there are case worker offices, six communal balconies, and a cafe, rivaling typical luxury apartments.

Although considered low-income housing, each unit costs $600,000, leading to criticisms of taxpayer money wastage since the project’s inception.

View of the newly built 19-story apartment in Skid Row [Sangjin Kim, The Korea Daily]
“As many things that we can put inside the building so that you don’t have the chaos that you sometimes see outside the building where people are moving to and from so, you can do just about anything you want within this building, and it’s a regular apartment,” said Kevin Murray, CEO of Weingart Tower.

All units in the apartment have been assigned to homeless individuals, with move-ins starting on June 20.

Weingart Tower is one of three ongoing homeless apartment projects. The second apartment is set to open within 18 months, and the third is in the development stage.

BY SUAH JANG, YOUNGNAM KIM [jang.suah@koreadaily.com]