Homes on Daisy Avenue in Long Beach Open for HOPE Residents Who Desire Greater Independence
by IAN NEVAREZ
“People with developmental disabilities live everywhere,” says Kristin Martin, Executive Director of HOPE, Inc. “That’s why we are intentional in our strategy to create affordable housing options where they live, in as many unique communities as possible. So we are thrilled to be opening up our first homes in the historic Wilmore neighborhood of Long Beach.”
This new housing opens in summer 2019 and is located on Daisy Avenue less than one mile from downtown. The location, with convenient access to transportation and services, is ideal for HOPE residents. The property will be home to seven individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD), and was completed in partnership with Harbor Regional Center, Long Beach Development Services, the Long Beach Community Investment Company, and California MENTOR. The site consists of five units that will serve seven residents, while one unit is reserved as an office for supported living services staff.
These homes are being made available for individuals who desire to live more independently than their current housing arrangement. This will mean that adults who are currently living with their aging parents, in 24-hour residential care group homes, or in other types of state-run institutions, will have the opportunity to live with greater self-reliance.
There is an urgency to build more of this type of housing. A recent survey of 102 people with I/DD, conducted by the State Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Lanterman Housing Alliance, found that 85% of respondents living with their parents reported a desire to live independently alone or with roommates. These individuals reported limited finances, lack of affordable housing options, and lack of accessible housing as the barriers to their ability to achieve these housing goals. If that percentage is reflective of a larger desire in this population, the units needed to meet demand throughout the state could be in the tens of thousands.
As was mentioned, this new HOPE housing is located in the Willmore City historic district, which was first developed by early city pioneer William E. Willmore in the late 19th century from a subdivision of Rancho Los Cerritos. It is the site of the original township of Willmore City and contains Drake Park named for Colonel Charles Rivers Drake, developer of the Pike amusement complex and the Knoll Park housing development. Part of this area became a historic district—Long Beach’s first—in 1978; since then the residents have been preserving and protecting it. The entire neighborhood now enjoys the protection of the historic designation.
As a now proud member of this community, HOPE made certain that the entirety of our renovation plan conformed to the neighborhood’s historic preservation guidelines. Here is a link to the districts website (https://willmorecity.org/). During the renovation process, HOPE preserved the porches on all units, the columns on the front of the main house, the wood siding on all three units, the stairways, wooden windows, wooden fencing, concrete pathways and the exterior tri-color scheme.
With renovations completed in mid-April, resident interviews were coordinated immediately by California MENTOR. California MENTOR is a nonprofit organization with the mission to offer adults innovative, quality services and supports that lead to growth and independence, regardless of the physical, intellectual or behavioral challenges they face. Moving forward, they will be onsite during work days to provide the needed supported living services for HOPE’s newest residents on Daisy Ave.
This type of housing is so important for the security and quality of life of people with I/DD. Like current HOPE resident, Jody, who in the past bounced around between different expensive housing options and feared that she would never find a safe, stable, long-term home that was affordable. Her parents confessed that they were concerned for their daughter and not certain what Jody would do once they were no longer able to take care of her. Luckily she found HOPE and has been a tenant with our organization for more than 20 years. “I never thought I would live in such nice housing,” says Jody, “and it’s actually affordable.”
Additional collaborators on this project include, First Republic Bank, Dilworth Construction, real estate agent Todd McIntosh, Appleby Property Management, Gonzalez Construction, and architects Brad Fowers and Brian Noteware. Finally, the Long Beach Water department in February completed an installation of a new drought-tolerant landscape in the front yard. This garden was a generous donation through their DIG program. HOPE is always looking for ways to utilize sustainable housing practices and asset management in our portfolio.
To support HOPE’s ambitious goal to house 250 additional people with developmental disabilities by 2025, please contribute here.