Apartment Overhaul Project Gets a Boost

In the ongoing rehabilitation of a blighted Blythe Street apartment complex, organizers of the renovation anticipate additional funding for the project.

State officials recently awarded tax credits expected to generate millions of dollars in assistance to Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, the nonprofit social service agency orchestrating the apartment renovation.

The award "will bring more resources to the project," said Angelina Casillas, Hermandad project director.

The agency will receive $218,400 in annual tax credits from the federal government for the next 10 years, and $129,700 in annual credits from the state for the next four years.

Hermandad will raise funds by selling the credits to individual and corporate investors, who in turn can deduct the amount of the purchase from annual taxes--a strategy similar to writing off a charitable donation, said Roger Wildermuth, a spokesman for state Treasurer Matt Fong, chairman of the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee.

The overhaul of the formerly cockroach-infested, drug-plagued site began in June and is viewed as an important sign of renewal on Blythe. In 1993, drug-dealing and violence in the area led the Los Angeles city attorney to obtain a civil injunction against local gangs.

Crews are also retrofitting the site to prevent future earthquake damage.

Residents of 14601 Blythe St. had to be relocated to nearby housing last December. Most could return by the end of this year, said Ruperto Albelda, community housing programs manager for the Los Angeles Housing Department.

Albelda said the city of Los Angeles has loaned Hermandad $3.8 million to fund the renovation project. Revenue from the sale of the tax credits primarily will be used to repay the loan, Casillas said.

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