LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Arkady Shapiro was involved in two separate head-on car collisions that left him in a wheelchair. The long recovery and financial burden resulted in him being homeless for the last five years.
"It's the stuff that nightmares are made of," Arkady explained. "It was a very scary experience that I wasn't prepared for."
Last month, he became the first resident of Pointe on La Brea, a new, five-story, 50-unit, permanent supportive housing community.
"I almost didn't believe it. It was almost too good to be true. That's how significant it was," Arkady said.
The Pointe on La Brea is brand new housing where an auto body shop used to be, but nonprofit EAH Housing thinks sometimes the best way forward is to take something old and make it new again.
The Laurel is one example of that. Along with 58 affordable housing units and supportive services, the Santa Monica Nikkei Hall, which was vacant for years, is being restored to serve as community use space. The original windows, entry porch and woodwork will be preserved along with the restoration of a Japanese garden.
"We know the assets already exist within these communities and how are we going to be able to lend our hand in assisting in rebuilding and repurposing these buildings, get people housed, again, returning the communities back into what it was once thriving, where people were proud of and that's what we are here to do," said Denice Wint, the VP of real estate development for EAH Housing.
EAH Housing has developed over 100 properties and manages over 13,000 units in California and Hawaii. The nonprofit is grounded in the belief that attractive and affordable housing is healthier and more sustainable for all involved.
"We know we want our buildings to look good. We want our residents to feel proud of the units that they're in. We want our neighbors to be happy of the units that we're designing within our community," Wint said.
Arkady adds: "If the city is thinking about a place to help people, this is it. I can't think of any better solution than to give a person their own space, just that little bit of assistance they need to feel better about themselves, and that might be enough to push a person forward to get out of that rut they were in."