11:57 AM

Los Angeles homeless housing tower secures financing

A 19-story high rise under construction to help relieve the decades-long homelessness epidemic in Los Angeles is one step closer to reality after a new round of financing closed with the help of Nationwide.

Weingart Tower 1A, a 278-unit apartment building designed to provide housing for homeless people in L.A.’s Central City East neighborhood, infamously known as Skid Row, has secured additional tax credit construction financing from Nationwide, helping to make the development financially viable. The roughly $164 million project, funded in part through Nationwide’s affordable housing tax credit program, broke ground on Sept. 28.

“Time and again research has shown that the key to bringing people out of homelessness is the availability of affordable and safe housing,” said Chief Investment Officer Joel Coleman at Nationwide. “We believe Weingart Tower has the potential to be transformative for hundreds, and eventually thousands, of Los Angeles residents who need a hand up to help them escape from homelessness. As a protection company, we can think of few causes that are more important than safe, stable housing.”

The Skid Row district of Los Angeles has been an epicenter of homelessness for decades. In 1976, the city of Los Angeles established the area as an unofficial “containment zone” for homeless people and homeless services. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there were nearly 4,800 residents of the 50-block area east of downtown in 2019, more than 2,700 of which were homeless.

Weingart Tower 1A is the first of two apartment towers planned for the neighborhood. When completed, Weingart Tower 1A and Weingart Tower 1B will offer a mix of 382 studio and one-bedroom apartment units to people transitioning out of homelessness. Tenants will be able to use vouchers from the Housing Authority of Los Angeles and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing. The development is funded by multiple public and private organizations, including the city of Los Angeles and the state of California.

In addition to apartment units, Weingart Tower 1A will also house social service offices, laundry facilities and a fitness center for residents of both towers. Weingart Tower 1A is expected to be completed in 2023. Tower 1B, a 104-unit 12-story building, is slated to begin construction in summer 2022 and be completed in 2024. When the two buildings are complete, they will be the largest housing development for the homeless in the city’s history.

Nationwide became involved in the project because it aligns with one of the company’s primary investment goals of promoting stable and affordable housing in neighborhoods, cities and states where it operates, Coleman said. Projects like Weingart Tower are rare, he added, because the below-market rents charged to tenants make it difficult for developers to cover their costs. Nationwide’s ongoing commitment to invest in underserved communities through its more than $3 billion Affordable Housing Tax Credit platform helps make projects like Weingart Tower feasible and improves the lives of many deserving people.

For more information about Nationwide’s efforts to promote affordable housing, read Nationwide’s 2020 Corporate Sustainability report.