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South LA Etta James complex will provide supportive housing


Homeless Health Care Los Angeles (HHCLA), RMG Housing, and  SDS Capital Group (SDS), alongside LA City Councilmember Curren Price, announced last week the first permanent supportive housing development project in District 9 that launched their innovative partnership. Along with inaugurating the facility with a new name, “Etta James,” there was a housewarming fiesta provided for the residents and the creation of a live mural on the rooftop, courtesy of artist and former HHCLA client, Edik Keshishyan.

The model is the only known of its kind, utilizing private developer, RMG Housing, to construct market-rate capital with  zero taxpayer subsidy.

“Throughout our City, we are making huge strides in gaining momentum to combat the homelessness crisis through  the collaboration and persistence of like-minded organizations such as RMG and Homeless Health Care Los Angeles,” said Price. “I am excited to add the Etta James to the inventory of thousands of affordable  housing units coming down the line in District 9. This new complex will serve as a place where neighbors will not only  have a stable place to lay their heads, but they will also be afforded a healthy and supportive environment where they  can live independently and with dignity.”

Located in the Jazz Corridor of Council District 9, the Etta James offers 21 permanent supportive housing units. On site services include: communal rooftop space, job assistance, rental assistance, linkages to health, mental health, and  substance use treatment, as well as ongoing case and holistic management. A rooftop mural was especially designed by Edik Keshishyan, a former HHCLA client. James was a student at nearby Jefferson High School.

“Today’s inauguration of the Etta James commits our organizations to work closely to achieve the goal of constructing  25 PSH projects that will house over 1,000 people by 2025,” said Mark Casanova, Executive Director of HHCLA.

The impact of the Etta James, while being life-changing for the 21 tenants living on site, is amplified in that its success  has led to a new model for permanent supportive housing (PSH).

“The Etta James Building, conceived by RMG and HHCLA, is an innovative PSH prototype that has evolved into an  even larger, visionary initiative,” said Deborah La Franchi, founder & CEO, SDS Capital Group. “RMG can now  dramatically scale their development acumen – notable for achieving an average cost per unit of $200,000 – by tapping  the SDS Supportive Housing Fund and with HHCLA providing critical supportive services. The Fund’s $130 million of  private-sector capital will finance more than two dozen new PSH developments in Los Angeles—a win-win for the City  of Los Angeles and those living on the streets who will soon have a home.”

The complex is names after James, who Billboard once named as one of the greatest R&B artists of all time.

HHCLA is a nonprofit, community-based organization that provides comprehensive  behavioral and holistic health care to address the unique challenges of people experiencing homelessness. For over 30 years,  HHCLA has offered a continuum of services that include counseling, substance use treatment, syringe exchange, overdose  prevention, hygiene access, and housing with supportive services. To learn more about HHCLA, visit