Two years after opening its flagship Anita May Rosenstein Campus, the Los Angeles LGBT Center celebrates the grand opening of its newest building: the Michaeljohn Horne & Thomas Eugene Jones Youth Housing. Located directly across the street from the revolutionary Campus and next door to the Center’s Village at Ed Gould Plaza, the nearly 13,000-square-foot, four-story structure includes 25 supportive housing apartments for youth ages 24 and under; a community space with desktop computers, a television, and seating; a case management office; a well-designed outdoor space with landscaped areas and pathways; laundry facilities; and more. Screened by the Los Angeles Coordinated Entry System, residents are among the most vulnerable youth in Los Angeles who experience the most extreme barriers to qualify for housing support.
To commemorate the momentous occasion, the Center will produce a virtual celebration hosted by YouTube personality and Center supporter MacDoesIt to be streamed live on Saturday, April 10, at 11 a.m. PT. Watch the celebration at facebook.com/lalgbtcenter or lalgbtcenter.org/watch.
“These apartments will literally change our young residents’ lives. For many of them, this is the first time when they will have a home of their own. For all of them, it means a chance to building a better, brighter future,” said Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “But this project is not enough. There are thousands more youth in our community who still face the burdens of homelessness and all of its challenges: employment, food insecurity, mental health services. This building is a model for how we can start to better meet all of their needs. It is an example of how a community organization—backed by amazing supporters—can partner with our city to create an affordable housing solution with wraparound health and social services. Today, we rightfully celebrate this collective vision, passion, and hard work!”
The supportive housing units, ranging from 279 to 329 square feet, combine rental assistance with individualized, flexible, and voluntary support services for youth. Residents will have access to the Center’s full range of wraparound services and support, including case management; education; employment training and placement; health and mental health care; food and clothing assistance; counseling and supports groups; and activities and events.
“I’m very excited about moving into my own place. I’ve had this dream of living, cooking, and studying in my own apartment,” said 21-year-old future resident Robert, who has been living with relatives and in housing shelters for the past six years. “Once I move in, I intend to get my high school diploma and attend college. I’m looking forward—and it feels amazing!”
On any given day, there are 4,000 youth (ages 24 and younger) living on the streets of Los Angeles, mostly in Hollywood. A staggering 40% of these youth are LGBTQ. The Center has a range of housing options for youth experiencing homelessness, including emergency beds and transitional living apartments, which together provide 100 beds to vulnerable youth. The Michaeljohn Horne & Thomas Eugene Jones Youth Housing apartments are distinct from the Center’s emergency and 18-month Transitional Living Program: the supportive housing units allow residents to stay until they are able to live independently in the community.
“We have watched the building go up, and it is amazing to see how it has turned out! It fills our hearts,” said Michaeljohn Horne and Thomas Eugene Jones. “We are proud to be the spark of hope for young people who have set goals for themselves and are looking to be a vital part of a community and society. Welcome home!”
The Youth Housing was built in partnership with affordable housing developer Thomas Safran & Associates. Design Architects were Killefer Flammang Architects (KFA) and Leong Leong. Executive Architect was KFA. Alpha Construction was the General Contractor.
“We feel this project is one of the most important and significant developments in our company’s history. Thomas Safran & Associates holds a mission to enhance the world in which we live and enrich the lives of the people who reside in our buildings,” said Thomas Safran & Associates President Jordan Pynes. “This project is important to us because it provides housing and services and creates a one-of-a-kind campus for the LGBTQ community. We partnered with the Los Angeles LGBT Center because we truly admire the work that the Center does for those who truly need the help and support. We are happy to join the Center in welcoming our residents to their new homes!”