Benny Chan/fotoworks

Faced with a growing homelessness and affordable housing crisis in Los Angeles, nonprofit LINC Housing has created a 125-unit intergenerational community to help address the critical need.

Mosaic Gardens at Westlake provides 63 units of supportive housing with wraparound services for individuals and families who have experienced homelessness, with 52 of these set aside for those who have been chronically homeless. The remaining units are for families and seniors earning 30% to 60% of the area median income; two units are reserved for managers. In a sign of the high demand, nearly 1,900 households applied for the initial lottery for the 60 affordable homes for families and seniors. In addition, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles provided project-based vouchers for the 63 supportive housing units.

Wraparound services, such as mental and physical health care, substance abuse assistance, transportation, evictions prevention, and life skills, are provided for the formerly homeless. LINC Cares provides additional services for all residents, including after-school and summer learning programs, job readiness, community engagement activities, and financial and computer literacy programs.

Designed by Lahmon Architects, the new building has a modern aesthetic to fit in with the revitalization of the Westlake neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles and to help melt away the stigma surrounding homelessness and low-income housing. The building features shared community levels and two multi-story towers. A five-story tower for families sits above two stories of subterranean parking, a community room with a kitchen, two open courtyards, and a laundry room. The second four-story tower for seniors is above one story of subterranean parking, a community room, a central courtyard, and laundry facilities. The development also features a community garden, computer labs, health and wellness rooms, a fitness center, bike storage, a playground, an arts and crafts room, case management offices, and a conference room.

To create the intergenerational community, located on six underutilized parcels, a reality, the development team had to transform a blighted hillside, removing 40 vertical fee, or 3,600 truckloads, of soil.

The development also has a focus on sustainability. Earning LEED for Homes Gold certification, the development utilizes water, energy, and material resources efficiently to reduce greenhouse gas emission and provide cost-saving benefits for the residents. Features include energy-efficient light fixtures; Energy Star appliances; low-flow toilets, showers, and faucets; drought-tolerant plants and high-efficiency irrigation; and environmentally friendly products.

The development has multiple layers of financing, tapping city, county, state, and federal resources and being one of the first projects to be awarded funding under California’s cap-and-trade program.