Elected Officials Are on Hand for the Grand Opening of New Affordable Housing in Norwalk for Adults with Developmental Disabilities
by IAN NEVAREZ
Norwalk—On Monday, HOPE, Inc. welcomed community members and local leaders to the grand opening of their recently renovated homes on Rosecrans Avenue, which were created to be permanent, supportive housing for adults with developmental disabilities.
Guests gathered to hear Norwalk Mayor Luigi Vernola speak directly about the need for affordable housing in the community. State Senator Tony Mendoza and State Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon were also in attendance and made statements on the importance of affordable housing for those most vulnerable in the community. Calderon and Mendoza have recently worked together to make affordable housing a priority at the state level. “We’re so grateful that HOPE has created this opportunity,” said Calderon, “It’s great to know that this organization is here and that we can team up and tackle housing issues together. I’m all in.”
This project was completed in partnership with the City of Norwalk, Harbor Regional Center (HRC), Rose Hills Foundation, Bank of the West Foundation, and numerous other donors. The triplex, located on Rosecrans Avenue in Norwalk, was purchased in March of 2016 and is owned by HOPE Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charity.
HRC Executive Director Patricia Del Monico also spoke and expressed her delight at the completion of another HOPE home, “The work that [Executive Director] Kristin Martin and his team do is so important, small communities of independent individuals are what we aim for, and the finished homes are just incredible. I’ve been to HOPE ribbon cutting after ribbon cutting, and it’s such a joy every time.”
The inspiring residents of these new homes are individuals who have each in recent years experienced enormous growth in their abilities. One of the resident’s sister recounted the uncertainty they faced when considering housing, “In the last 4 or 5 years David had expressed his desire to live independently, and we didn’t know if it could happen. In the last 18 months, HOPE has helped this become a reality for him, and he couldn’t be happier.” This new housing will allow these residents to continue their path toward greater self-sufficiency.
This type of affordable housing reserved for special needs populations is vital. In the current market, an individual earning minimum wage would need to work up to 90 hours per week to afford an average priced one-bedroom apartment in the greater Los Angeles area. However, properties like HOPE’s triplex in Norwalk require their residents to allocate only 30% of their income – about $260 – towards housing, which gives them independence within a safe, stable environment.
Senator Mendoza and his office have been working closely with the Department of Developmental Services to provide data on employment and housing for adults with developmental disabilities. “To see what HOPE is doing is encouraging,” he said, “It’s concrete proof that we can make affordable housing and independent living a possibility for those most vulnerable in our community.”