Los Angeles OKs $15 Million for Dilapidated Skid Row Housing Trust Buildings

Los Angeles OKs $15 Million for Dilapidated Skid Row Housing Trust Buildings

A homeless person sleeps at City Hall in Los Angeles on Jan 27, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

City News Service

City News Service

12/13/2023

Updated: 12/13/2023

LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles City Council Dec. 12 approved a $15 million request to cover costs for the continuing maintenance and repair of 22 dilapidated buildings in the Skid Row area under a receivership.
About $14.5 million will cover repairs, debts owed to the receivership, and deficits due to low rent for more than 1,500 units and the buildings through the end of the fiscal year on June 30, according to city officials.
An additional $500,000 will be used to retain consultants to develop a recapitalization strategy for the portfolio.
Councilors voted 14–0 with Councilman Curren Price absent.
This funding is the city’s third allocation to support the Skid Row Housing Trust. Earlier this year, the trust—a nonprofit organization that formerly managed 29 buildings— announced it was financially incapable of maintaining the properties.
The city of Los Angeles entered into a court-ordered receivership, a legal process that allows a court-appointed person to take control of the property, bring it into compliance, and improve the quality of life for residents and the surrounding community.
Seven of the 29 buildings were removed from the receivership and placed with the National Equity Fund, a nonprofit housing organization, by a court order in June.
In March, the City Attorney’s Office asked a Superior Court judge to appoint a health and safety receiver to take control of the properties and address various code and health violations.
The first receiver, Mark Adams, president of the California Receivership Group, was replaced by the second and current receiver Kevin Singer, CEO of Receivership Specialists, after a series of events prompted city officials to request Mr. Adams’s removal.
The city council and Mayor Karen Bass previously approved a total of $22 million in loans that the Housing Department said would cover costs through Dec. 31. Part of that money also covered a $1.9 million payment to Mr. Adams for bills associated with security and repairs to the buildings; however, the Los Angeles Times reported that those costs may grow. The City Attorney’s Office hired a forensic accounting team to review other receipts— debts Mr. Adams contends he is owed.
The judge will have the final say regarding that issue, according to the Housing Department.
The City Hall in Los Angeles on Jan 27, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

The City Hall in Los Angeles on Jan 27, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Ann Sewill, the Housing Department’s general manager, previously said that of the proposed $14.5 million, $4.2 million would cover expenses claimed by Mr. Singer; $5.8 million would cover expenses and operations not covered by rents between January and March; $3.1 million would pay the current receiver for capital expenditures; and $1.1 million would pay expenses and operations not covered by rents between April and June.
“What brought us to this point is that the buildings cost about $1,000 per unit per month to operate, and the income has been about $700 per unit per month,” Ms. Sewill said.
Ms. Sewill said that between Jan. 1 and June 30, the receivership will need the funding to stabilize the properties and minimize ongoing operational deficits while supportive housing partners can be identified and ultimately take ownership of some or all of the buildings.
Two of the 22 buildings are expected to exit the receivership in December, she added, and another eight should exit by March.
“That will leave us with 12 buildings with 809 units in the receivership, which is really the focus of our work to stabilize the portfolio,” Ms. Sewill said.
According to a report from the Housing Department, Mr. Singer intends to conduct a receivership sale early 2024 and proposes that any of the 12 buildings remaining that are not purchased be acquired by the city—using the $22 million already expended as credit.
The council’s Housing and Homelessness, and Budget, Finance and Innovation committees approved the request in late November.
Sidewalk encampment in the Skid Row neighborhood of Los Angeles on May 16, 2023. (John Fredricks/The EPoch Times)

Sidewalk encampment in the Skid Row neighborhood of Los Angeles on May 16, 2023. (John Fredricks/The EPoch Times)

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