• Conservative Fix
  • Posts
  • Taxpayer-Funded Homeless High-Rise in Skid Row Includes Gym, Cafe, Art Studio

Taxpayer-Funded Homeless High-Rise in Skid Row Includes Gym, Cafe, Art Studio

Lavish Amenities Spark Debate Over Spending and Effectiveness

Taxpayers are funding a new high-rise building in Los Angeles where homeless people will enjoy skyline views, a cafe, a gym, and an art studio, not to mention the free rent.

The fancy new building is 19 stories high and has 278 units, each costing about $600,000. The total cost was $165 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. It is the first of three new high-rise buildings that will soon house homeless people.

The building, reportedly the biggest permanent supportive housing project in the city, is set to open this month. It will take in homeless residents from Skid Row below, the infamous Los Angeles neighborhood where homeless people have thronged for decades despite many efforts to clean up the area.

The tower includes:

  • A gym

  • An art room

  • A soundproofed music room

  • A computer room with a library

  • A TV lounge

  • Six common balconies, four of which have dog runs

  • A courtyard

  • A cafe that will host movie nights

Each apartment has its own TV as well.

The project is funded by the city’s supportive housing loan program, Proposition HHH, which was approved by city voters in 2016, as well as state housing funds and $56 million in state tax credits.

The man behind the new buildings is Kevin Murray, a former California state senator who is president and chief executive of the Weingart Center, a nonprofit that assists homeless people.

“We’re trying to make our little corner of the world look and feel a little better,” Murray told the Times.

The three new homeless apartment buildings will be situated around the nonprofit’s headquarters. The second building will have 302 units, and the third will have 104 units. Altogether, about 700 homeless people will occupy the three buildings.

The first building’s commercial kitchen will also serve the 600-bed homeless shelter next door.

“We will offer people a meal plan, frankly, because we have a kitchen,” Murray said.

The idea behind the new buildings is to isolate homeless residents from Skid Row’s bad influences on the street. Outside, tents line the sidewalks, and rampant drug addiction and crime plague the neighborhood.

The project is already facing criticism. Estela Lopez, executive director of the Downtown Industrial Business Improvement District, a nonprofit that advocates for the property and business owners, employees, and residents of downtown Los Angeles, said she thinks concentrating extreme poverty is bad policy, although she added that the new building is a “campus of hope for those souls who will reside there.”

The cost and luxury of these units raise significant concerns. Each unit costing $600,000 has sparked debate about the efficiency and appropriateness of such spending. Critics argue that taxpayer dollars could be better spent on more economical housing solutions that help a greater number of people.

As these high-rise buildings prepare to open, the question remains: Will these expensive, amenity-rich towers genuinely solve the homelessness crisis, or are they a misguided use of public funds that could have been allocated more effectively?

Share this article or subscribe to our newsletter for more updates.