Skid Row’s New Taxpayer-Funded Homeless High-Rise Will Have Gym, Cafe, Art Studio

Each apartment has its own TV as well.
A homeless woman pushes her belongings past a row of tents on the streets of Los Angeles, California on February 1, 2021. - The federal judge overseeing attempts to resolve the homeless situation has called for an urgent meeting to discuss worsening conditions and the poor official response. Combined now with the coronaviruspandemic and worsening mental health and substance abuse issues, US District Judge David Carter who toured Skid Row last week likened the situation to "a significant natural disaster in Southern California with no end in sight." (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Taxpayers are funding a new high-rise building in Los Angeles where homeless people will enjoy skyline views, a cafe, a gym, and an art studio, not to mention the free rent.

The fancy new building is 19 stories high and has 278 units, each costing about $600,000. The total cost was $165 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. It is the first of three new high-rise buildings that will soon house homeless people.

The building, reportedly the biggest permanent supportive housing project in the city, is set to open this month. It will take in homeless residents from Skid Row below, the infamous Los Angeles neighborhood where homeless people have thronged for decades despite many efforts to clean up the area.

The tower includes a gym, an art room, a soundproofed music room, a computer room with a library, a TV lounge, six common balconies, four of which have dog runs, a courtyard, and a cafe that will host movie nights.

Each apartment has its own TV as well.

The project is funded by the city’s supportive housing loan program, Proposition HHH, which was approved by city voters in 2016, as well as state housing funds and $56 million in state tax credits.

The man behind the new buildings is Kevin Murray, a former California state senator who is president and chief executive of the Weingart Center, a nonprofit that assists homeless people.

“We’re trying to make our little corner of the world look and feel a little better,” Murray told the Times.

The three new homeless apartment buildings will be situated around the nonprofit’s headquarters. The second building will have 302 units, and the third will have 104 units. Altogether, about 700 homeless people will occupy the three buildings.

The first building’s commercial kitchen will also serve the 600-bed homeless shelter next door.


“We will offer people a meal plan, frankly, because we have a kitchen,” Murray said.

The idea behind the new buildings is to isolate homeless residents from Skid Row’s bad influences on the street. Outside, tents line the sidewalks, and rampant drug addiction and crime plague the neighborhood.

The project is already facing criticism.

Estela Lopez, executive director of the Downtown Industrial Business Improvement District, a nonprofit that advocates for the property and business owners, employees, and residents of downtown Los Angeles, said she thinks concentrating extreme poverty is bad policy, although she added that the new building is a “campus of hope for those souls who will reside there.”

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