South LA firm breaks ground on affordable housing complex for seniors in San Pedro

A Los Angeles development firm, city and county officials celebrated the groundbreaking of a new mixed-income housing project in San Pedro on Monday morning, July 19, continuing the goal that all three groups share of providing affordable housing across the region.

The project from SoLa Impact will see a four-story apartment center rise up on the corner of Fourth and Gaffey streets. It will be able to house up to 28 people.

Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino, and representatives from the Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office, the LA County Board of Supervisors and United Way Greater LA also celebrated the groundbreaking.

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The building, said SoLA Impact CEO Martin Muoto, will cater toward senior residents, specifically veterans and those who are homeless.

“This is one of our first projects in San Pedro,” Muoto said. “And we hope to have many more.”

SoLa uses state funds for so-called opportunity zones — census tracts in economically distressed community, according to the state website — to build affordable housing in Los Angeles County. SoLa has constructed around 1,500 units since its founding in 2015, mostly in South Los Angeles, Muoto said. And, he added, the company’s goal is to build 1,300 additional units across Los Angeles by 2024, including 300 more in San Pedro.

Los Angeles city and county have both sought solutions to the ongoing housing and homelessness crisis.

SoLa Impact, Los Angeles-based firm that uses opportunity zone funds to build mixed-income housing, broke ground on their latest development project in San Pedro Monday, July 19, 2021, joined by representatives from the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, LA County Board of Supervisors and United Way Greater LA. The four-story apartment center tucked along the corner of Fourth and Gaffey streets will be able to house up to 28 individuals. (Hunter Lee, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

SoLa Impact, Los Angeles-based firm that uses opportunity zone funds to build mixed-income housing, broke ground on their latest development project in San Pedro Monday, July 19, 2021, joined by representatives from the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, LA County Board of Supervisors and United Way Greater LA. The four-story apartment center tucked along the corner of Fourth and Gaffey streets will be able to house up to 28 individuals. (Hunter Lee, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

Councilman Joe Buscaino speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony. SoLa Impact, Los Angeles-based firm that uses opportunity zone funds to build mixed-income housing, broke ground on their latest development project in San Pedro Monday, July 19, 2021, joined by representatives from the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, LA County Board of Supervisors and United Way Greater LA. The four-story apartment center tucked along the corner of Fourth and Gaffey streets will be able to house up to 28 individuals. (Hunter Lee, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

SoLa Impact, Los Angeles-based firm that uses opportunity zone funds to build mixed-income housing, broke ground on their latest development project in San Pedro Monday, July 19, 2021, joined by representatives from the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, LA County Board of Supervisors and United Way Greater LA. The four-story apartment center tucked along the corner of Fourth and Gaffey streets will be able to house up to 28 individuals. (Hunter Lee, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

SoLa Impact cofounders Gray Lusk (left) and Martin Muoto break ground with Councilman Joe Buscaino (center). The Los Angeles-based firm that uses opportunity zone funds to build mixed-income housing broke ground on their latest development project in San Pedro Monday, July 19, 2021, joined by representatives from the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, LA County Board of Supervisors and United Way Greater LA. The four-story apartment center tucked along the corner of Fourth and Gaffey streets will be able to house up to 28 individuals. (Hunter Lee, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

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“This is just a groundbreaking for the start of the race,” Muoto said. “We’re going to be here for the next 12 to 18 months.

“Hopefully less, with the help and support we’ve been getting,” he added.

The complex — despite the lot’s tight size, at about 40 feet wide — will feature an array of amenities, including a rooftop deck, common area and personal lockers.

“We want to make sure our tenants stay successfully houses,” Muoto said.

Just two blocks over, on Sixth Street, is another affordable housing development project that will offer 48 units reserved for households making at or below 30% of the area median income.

“There is such a housing demand here in our city and the region,” Buscaino said during the ceremony. “It pains me to know that some of our senior vets live in encampments across the city.

“But today,” he added, “this lot will be not only an apartment unit but a symbol of hope for 28 souls who will no longer have to call sidewalks their home.”

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