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Mosaic Gardens at Westlake Provides Supportive and Intergenerational Housing in Los Angeles

A photograph of two multi-story buildings connected at the ground level with a tree-lined sidewalk in the foreground.Mosaic Gardens at Westlake offers intergenerational housing and supportive services in two multi-story towers. Credit: Benny Chan/fotoworks

California’s rapid population growth has increased the demand for affordable housing. Current estimates indicate that the state’s population could grow from 39.5 million (as of 2017) to 44 million by 2030. Linc Housing, a mission-based nonprofit and the developer of Mosaic Gardens at Westlake, strives to mitigate this housing crisis by constructing affordable housing with supportive services to serve vulnerable groups in California. The recipient of numerous affordable housing awards, Mosaic Gardens at Westlake provides affordable, intergenerational housing and essential support services for seniors and families as well as those experiencing homelessness. Linc began construction and site preparation for Mosaic Gardens in April 2016 and completed the development just over two years later. The complex is located on a busy intersection near downtown Los Angeles, on a steep, previously underutilized site. Suny Lay Chang, chief operating officer at Linc Housing, indicated that Linc recognized the need and potential for affordable housing that could serve a vulnerable population in a rapidly gentrifying area near transit, jobs, and a major hospital.

Developing Mosaic Gardens at Westlake

To finance the $57.6 million development, Linc leveraged several funding sources. An acquisition loan from the Corporation for Supportive Housing helped Linc purchase the roughly one-acre plot. Most of the financing ― $29.4 million ― came from the sale of 9 percent low-income housing tax credits, with additional support from state, county, and city agencies; a conventional loan; and an Affordable Housing Program loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank, among other sources. Through project-based vouchers from the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, formerly homeless individuals and families pay no more than 30 percent of their income in rent.

A photograph of a large room with high ceilings and several tables and chairs that has separate meeting rooms with windows along one wall.The abundance of community space offers residents rooms for counseling, fitness, and computer use, as well as courtyards and rooftop gardens for outdoor gatherings. Credit: Benny Chan/fotoworks

Building Features

The development offers 125 apartments across 2 multistory towers ― one exclusively for seniors and one for families ― built on a shared podium where all residents can gather. The development consists of 80 one-bedroom, 15 two-bedroom, and 30 three-bedroom units for residents earning between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). A total of 63 permanent supportive housing units are reserved for households that have experienced homelessness, who are referred by the Los Angeles County Coordinated Entry System and Department of Health Services. Of these 63 units, 42 are for formerly homeless families and 21 are for formerly homeless seniors. Another 60 units are traditional affordable housing for low-income families and seniors, with 25 units for people earning up to 50 percent of AMI and 35 units for people earning up to 60 percent of AMI. The remaining two units are reserved for onsite managers. Demonstrating the area’s high demand for affordable housing, these units were leased quickly, with 1,900 applicants during the initial lottery.

Mosaic Gardens at Westlake received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its use of sustainable building features such as high-efficiency heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems; ENERGY STAR appliances; a central hot water heating and irrigation system; energy-efficient lighting; and water-saving toilets and showers. Such features also reduce residents’ utility costs. The developer has planted drought-tolerant vegetation to reduce water usage. Building materials include green-certified flooring; locally produced cement; and paints, adhesives, and sealants that have low levels of volatile organic compounds. The development offers 125 secure bicycle storage spaces to encourage alternate forms of transportation.

Amenities and Supportive Services

Mosaic Gardens at Westlake incorporates multiple features that foster a sense of community among residents. The complex’s amenities include underground parking, open courtyards, laundry facilities, and elevators for both towers. The development offers more than 15,000 square feet of multipurpose space, including a communal kitchen; two computer labs; and craft, exercise, counseling, and conference rooms for residents. In addition, a community nursing station accessed from the main entry foyer helps residents address their health needs onsite. Outdoor courtyards provide a healthy and relaxing atmosphere, and the senior tower is equipped with a rooftop vegetable and herb garden. Families with children can use the playground, which also has easels and a wash-out sink for painting.

As a source of permanent supportive housing, Mosaic Gardens at Westlake offers critical services onsite for residents in need. Contracted by Los Angeles County, The People Concern, a social service agency, provides intensive case management for formerly homeless households to address mental and physical health needs, medication management, attendant care, hospice or urgent care placement, eviction prevention, transportation, and domestic violence. Formerly homeless households can also receive substance abuse counseling, crisis intervention, financial management, assistance in accessing and keeping social benefits, and referrals to community-based services and resources.

Linc’s resident services coordinator manages other services available to all residents. For example, through a diabetes management program offered in partnership with Good Samaritan Hospital, healthcare providers help residents learn about good nutrition, exercise, and measuring blood glucose levels. An onsite exam room allows Linc’s healthcare partners to provide immunizations and health consultations. Further contributing to housing stability, workshops on employment counseling and placement, job readiness, and computer literacy help residents retain steady employment and acquire skills that are attractive to employers. By offering families parenting workshops and access to afterschool and summer enrichment programs for their children, Mosaic Gardens at Westlake helps working parents ensure that their children have safe venues for enrichment. In addition, social events such as family game nights, cookouts, and movie nights foster social cohesion and mitigate isolation, especially among seniors.

Improving Quality of Life

By developing Mosaic Gardens at Westlake, Linc Housing further demonstrates its commitment to building and preserving affordable and environmentally sustainable housing. Although traversing the steep site and navigating the busy intersection presented challenges for construction crews, Chang emphasized the rewarding result, which serves so many populations and needs at once. As Chang emphasized, Linc Housing takes a “holistic view” in providing a diverse array of supportive services to improve residents’ overall quality of life. Although affordable housing that designates units for both seniors and families is rare, Mosaic Gardens at Westlake demonstrates the potential for such developments to serve more groups with special needs under one roof.

Source:

Public Policy Institute of California. 2018. “California’s Future: Population.” Accessed 21 April 2020; Linc Housing. “About.” Accessed 6 April 2020; Linc Housing. “Mosaic Gardens at Westlake.” Accessed 6 April 2020; Interview with Suny Lay Chang, chief operating officer at Linc Housing, 17 April 2020; Globe Newswire. 2018. “LINC Housing Opens Intergenerational Affordable Housing Community in Los Angeles for Formerly Homeless and Low-Income Residents,” press release, 21 June. Accessed 26 March 2020.

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Source:

Linc Housing. “Mosaic Gardens at Westlake.” Accessed 6 April 2020; Globe Newswire. 2018. “LINC Housing Opens Intergenerational Affordable Housing Community in Los Angeles for Formerly Homeless and Low-Income Residents,” press release, 21 June; Interview with Suny Lay Chang, chief operating officer at Linc Housing, 17 April 2020.

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Source:

Linc Housing. “Mosaic Gardens at Westlake.” Accessed 6 April 2020; Globe Newswire. 2018. “LINC Housing Opens Intergenerational Affordable Housing Community in Los Angeles for Formerly Homeless and Low-Income Residents,” press release, 21 June; Interview with Suny Lay Chang, chief operating officer at Linc Housing, 17 April 2020.

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Source:

Linc Housing. “Mosaic Gardens at Westlake.” Accessed 6 April 2020.

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Source:

Lahmon Architects. “Mosaic Gardens at Westlake.” Accessed 26 March 2020; Linc Housing. “Mosaic Gardens at Westlake.” Accessed 6 April 2020; Interview with Suny Lay Chang, chief operating officer at Linc Housing, 17 April 2020.

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Source:

Lahmon Architects. “Mosaic Gardens at Westlake.” Accessed 26 March 2020; Globe Newswire. 2018. “LINC Housing Opens Intergenerational Affordable Housing Community in Los Angeles for Formerly Homeless and Low-Income Residents,” press release, 21 June; Interview with Suny Lay Chang, chief operating officer at Linc Housing, 17 April 2020; The People Concern. “About.” Accessed 20 April 2020.

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Source:

Globe Newswire. 2018. “LINC Housing Opens Intergenerational Affordable Housing Community in Los Angeles for Formerly Homeless and Low-Income Residents,” press release, 21 June. Accessed 26 March 2020; Interview with Suny Lay Chang, chief operating officer at Linc Housing, 17 April 2020.

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Source:

Linc Housing. “About.” Accessed 6 April 2020; Interview with Suny Lay Chang, chief operating officer at Linc Housing, 17 April 2020.

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