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SOUTH-CENTRAL : Parking Lot Will Be Senior Housing Site

What was once a parking lot at West 85th Street and Kansas Avenue will become a housing complex for senior citizens.

Two community church leaders, the Rev. T.W. Coggs Jr. of the Progressive Baptist Church and the Rev. Edward Howard Sr. of the Philippian Baptist Church, joined forces to develop the new housing complex in South-Central that should be completed by the end of the year.

“By dealing with senior citizens, we knew there was a definite need,” Howard said. “And since we’re both senior citizens--I’m 61 and Reverend Coggs is 76--we knew what was needed.”

The $9-million project, called P & P Home for the Elderly, will include 106 unfurnished units for residents and one manager’s unit.

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The building will also contain a community kitchen and dining room, a multipurpose room, a large living room for tenant and family visits, laundry facilities and underground parking. An 11-member staff will be on site.

Planning for the project began in 1987 when Coggs saw the need for more housing for the elderly, said Larry A. Wiggs, a project consultant.

Coggs had developed a prototype for the project in 1971--the Progressive Home for the Elderly at Figueroa and Florence streets--which offers a food program and social activities run by volunteers, Wiggs said.

For this project, Coggs and Howard aimed to expand services.

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Each unit will rent for $650 a month, including utilities, three meals a day, legal advice, medical screenings, transportation to shopping centers and 24-hour security. Telephone and cable television services are not included in the rent.

The project was developed under the nonprofit development arm of both churches, the P & P Home for the Elderly Inc., which negotiated the deals to make the project possible.

The Community Redevelopment Agency contributed $5 million to build the 37,000-square-foot complex, making it the largest CRA-assisted senior citizen housing complex in South-Central. Additional funds were provided by Bank of America, Home Savings and other sources.

CRA spokesman Chuck Sifuentes said the need for affordable housing for senior citizens in South-Central was made worse by the 1992 riots and the Jan. 17 Northridge earthquake.

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Ambulatory people--those who are able to take care of themselves--over the age of 56 with a household income of less than $16,000 can apply to become residents.

Alpha Property Management Inc., a private company hired by the churches, will screen potential tenants and manage the complex, while food and social services will be coordinated through city and county agencies.

Information: (213) 753-3427.


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