New Affordable Housing Complex Challenges Preconceived Notions

Thomas Safran & Associates Seeks to Enrich Lives of Residents with Skyline Village

Los Angeles, Calif. – August 11, 2005 – For too long, low-income housing has conjured thoughts of run-down areas, unsafe neighborhoods and poor living conditions devoid of a sense of community. Some have even said that quality affordable housing isn’t possible. But Skyline Village is challenging that old mentality. 

Set against the backdrop of downtown Los Angeles, the 73-unit Skyline Village has new amenities not usually found in an affordable housing complex. First, there is the spacious community room with a brand-new, 52-inch, flat-screen TV, a ping-pong table, large comfortable couches, a kitchen, a billiards table and a player piano. Then there is the computer lab with four new computers with flat-screen monitors, all equipped with broadband internet access, word processing, spreadsheet and image editing software. 

An air-conditioned exercise room with cardiovascular equipment, two playgrounds, a basketball court and a gas BBQ grill round-out the list of high-quality amenities developer Thomas Safran & Associates included in their newest property. 

“We build places where we would want to live,” said president Thomas Safran, whose company owns and manages more than 2,000 rental housing units on 22 properties throughout Southern California. 

TSA, a Los Angeles-based apartment development and management firm specializing in affordable rental housing programs, is holding an open house at Skyline Village, on August 11, 2005 at 12 p.m. to celebrate the completion of the new complex and the opening of a new community. 

The open house will be followed by a dedication ceremony which Los Angeles City Councilmember Ed Reyes and City Controller Laura Chick are confirmed to attend. 

Located on 444 South Lucas Ave., the affordable housing complex offers a reasonably priced place to live for low-income families, with one, two, three or four-bedroom units. Rents vary depending on income levels but are offered for those who make 60, 50 and 35 of the median income and which stipulate that no more than 30 percent of an income should be allotted for rent. The building also accommodates families with disabilities and seniors. 

The Residents:
Luz Reyes has four children ages 9-17, one of which has cerebral palsy and whom Reyes cares for full-time. They were all living in a two-bedroom apartment in Glendale filled with gang violence. Their landlord had increased the rent to $1,200, which she could not afford. One day as she was driving by, she noticed a long line forming from a trailer on the Skyline Village lot. When she heard that Skyline Village was accepting applications for their units, she promptly waited in line to fill one out. 

She was one of 2,600 hundred people who applied to live in one of the 73 units. 

Today, Reyes and her children live in a four-bedroom unit that she says has changed the quality of their lives. Most importantly, there is enough space for her daughter’s medical supplies. 

“I just thank all the people for giving this opportunity to us,” she said. “Now I have peace and safety.” 

Funding:
The Skyline Village project was introduced to the City of Los Angeles in 2000 by TSA. Over the next few years, TSA was successful in securing the participation of over seven different agencies to make the apartment complex a reality. These agencies include the Federal Low Income Tax Credit Program, the California Department of Housing and Community Development and the California Housing Finance Agency.

Aside from on-site amenities, TSA also plans to offer residents help securing educational scholarships. 

Even before the building was completed, the units were in high-demand. TSA began accepting applications for the new building in June 2004. By December, the units had all been filled. The next month, new residents began moving in. 

“Skyline Village is an example that affordable housing can be accomplished, even if it takes six deeds of trust and more than seven sources of capital, which we have,” said vice president Andrew Gross. “With perseverance and determination, these types of communities can be built.” 

Permanent Source of Funds
- $4mm from California Department of Housing and Community Development 
- $3.75mm from California Housing Finance Agency 
- $3.2mm from Los Angeles Housing Department
- $.6mm from Century Housing (Bridge Loan) 
- $.6mm from City of Industry Funds 
- $.3mm from Federal Affordable Housing Program 
- $5.4mm from Equity Investments 

- Total $17.85mm 

Amenities:
Units have private patios or balconies, many overlooking courtyard gardens with prime downtown city views, central AC and heating, high-speed broadband connectivity, cable TV, a kitchen with a range/oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, waste disposal and ample cabinets, wall-to-wall carpeting and vinyl flooring. All residents have access to a “town square style” courtyard beautifully landscaped beneath a clock tower. 

Additionally, a monthly community newsletter is distributed to the residents listing scheduled activities, a list of residents’ birthdays, and helpful articles on everything from keeping cool in the summer heat to recipes and even upcoming video rentals. 

“Part of Skyline’s design is to create interaction between residents. We wanted to make this place a community,” Andrew Gross said. “It’s not just an apartment building. It’s a place to belong.”

Photos Available:
http://system1.ipressroom.com/pr/SchwartzmanPR/TSA/photo.asp?c=23 

About Thomas Safran & Associates:
Thomas Safran & Associates has specialized in developing affordable housing projects for over 20 years. As a mid-sized company, TSA maintains low overhead without sacrificing the high standards it demands of its new developments. Currently, TSA has developed over 3,500 units of housing in California. The company has earned over 30 awards for the superior quality and sensitivity of its development projects, which also include mixed-use and market price housing. 

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Eric Schwartzman
eric AT ericschwartzman DOT com