LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles city and county housing officials hosted the groundbreaking of a high-rise complex on Skid Row designed exclusively for the unhoused.
The 17-story building will feature 298 fully-furnished studio apartments and four units designated for building managers. It is being built on a 1.2 acre plot that was formerly a parking lot at 600 San Pedro St.
"You see the design, it's stunning. We're talking about world-class architecture," said Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Mercedes Marquez. "A 100% affordable, permanent, supportive housing meant to house those with the biggest problems."
Each unit will come with appliances, furniture and air conditioning. The building will also provide on-site case management, physical and mental health care and other social services designed to help residents get their lives back on track.
"There's no way we're going to solve this unless we're taking big steps, bold actions and moving projects like this," said Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles.
But with the homeless population topping 75,000 in the greater Los Angeles area, some critics say projects like these are too expensive and that the funding would be better spent on more affordable, temporary housing units that can get more people off the streets faster.
"Mobile homes, container homes, prefab homes - there's more ways we can address this crisis and get people off the streets," said Rev. Andy Bales, president of the Union Rescue Mission. "We're supposed to build 10,000 units. We're maybe 20% of the way there after seven years?"
But Marquez says this project is just one of a slew of affordable housing projects that are underway or on the brink of kicking off.
"We have moved all of the permitting forward for 7,000 new housing units, so it's not just about the building, it's what we have done since the mayor has arrived," she told Eyewitness News.
Marquez didn't have the price tag for this project, but construction is slated to wrap up in June 2025.