A National Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)Flexible Loan Capital Customized to Create Affordable Housing

Development well underway at Santa Monica Vermont Apartments.
Development well underway at Santa Monica Vermont Apartments.

July 10, 2023 - Perhaps nowhere in the country is the attention on affordable housing quite so focused than across California. In Los Angeles, where homelessness is particularly acute, Proposition HHH was passed in 2016. The legislation allowed city officials to issue $1.2 billion in bonds to support more than 7,000 permanent supportive housing units for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

Currently, Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) is working to build 187 affordable units and community serving ground floor commercial space atop the Line B Santa Monica/Vermont Ave metro station. When completed, the Santa Monica Vermont (SMV) Apartments will be a six-story high, mixed-use affordable housing site located at 1021 North Vermont Avenue, in Council District 13.

  • Project: Santa Monica Vermont Apartments
  • Address: 1021 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029
  • Developer: Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC)
  • Borrower: SMV Housing, L.P.
  • Total CHC Investment: $6.1 million, financing 86% of the total loan
  • Number of units: 187 permanently affordable units

The vision for the Little Tokyo Service Center is nothing less than ambitious: 100% permanently affordable housing and over 24,000 square feet of commercial space built on land acquired from the transit authority. All of the 187 restricted residential units will be dedicated to households at or below 50% of AMI; with 50% to low-income persons/families and the other 50% will be reserved as supportive housing (SH) for homeless persons/families. The units will split between two buildings and will include studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units. The ground floor will include a food court, health clinic, bike spaces and underground parking and more.

Despite the favorable policy climate, and because of the sheer ambition of the public-private partnership, developers needed committed capital partners. “This project would not have succeeded without patient capital,” said Debbie Chen. “It was extremely challenging to secure a capital stack, to find investors that could wait for us to pursue a lot of funding sources. CHC not only did that, they worked with us to get more pre-development funding to support this project. It took years, but they saw us to the finish line.”

“CHC not only secured our acquisition loan – they remained actively invested and did what needed to get done…the time we spent working with them directly added value to our overall project,” said Chen.

Currently, SMV is a little over 60% complete with construction. The team is targeting a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy by the end of April/early May 2024.