Little Tokyo org seeks to build affordable housing for homeless vets

Go For Broke adjusting plan to include housing in education center

The proposed development site on Temple Street and Council member Jose Huizar
The proposed development site on Temple Street and Council member Jose Huizar

A new proposal for a city-owned site in Little Tokyo now includes affordable housing.

The Go For Broke National Education Center has for years looked to develop a new educational facility for its operations on the site, a parking lot on the corner of N. Alameda and E. Temple streets. A motion introduced on Friday by City Councilmember Jose Huizar tweaks that plan to include housing for military veterans, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The organization, which is based in Little Tokyo, educates and documents the contributions of American soldiers of Japanese ancestry in World War II. It plans to partner with another local organization, the Little Tokyo Service Center, to develop the five-story project.

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Go For Broke leased the 37,000-square-foot property to develop the education center, but failed to raise enough money to build it. If approved, Huizar’s motion would order the city to negotiate a new lease for the updated project, according to the Times.

The new development would include the education center and as many as 70 affordable units. The site is near Go For Broke’s monument to Japanese American soldiers of World War II.

Erich Nakano, deputy director for the Little Tokyo Service Center, hinted that the partnership could seek funds from the $1.2 billion in bonds approved by voters in 2016 via Proposition HHH specifically for building 10,000 units of housing for people experiencing homelessness. As development costs rise and state and federal subsidies dry up, there’s concern that those bonds won’t cover that much housing anymore.

The city and state have undertaken numerous efforts to address L.A.’s burgeoning homelessness crisis, including the construction of temporary shelters on city-owned lots. The first proposed temporary shelter in Koreatown was met with stiff resistance from local residents. There are about 55,000 people without permanent housing in L.A.  [LAT] – Dennis Lynch