IKAR will build new apartments for seniors in Los Angeles


A local Jewish congregation, IKAR, is working with Community Corp of Santa Monica, Los Angeles, to rebuild land on the edge of Mid-City and Pico-Robertson into apartments for the elderly. The proposal, which was unveiled in a March op-ed in the Jewish Journal, will rise from a site at 1737 S. La Cienega Boulevard, replacing a commercial structure that IKAR bought for $6.9 million in 2020 The planned project, which has not yet been filed for approval by the City of Los Angeles, proposes the construction of 55 permanent supportive housing units.

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Wirtschafter adds in his op-ed that in California, municipal zoning restrictions have been used to exclude disadvantaged groups and people of color from certain neighborhoods and even entire cities. Minimum parking restrictions, which have traditionally been imposed on religious organizations, are among the rules that have created a barrier to projects such as the one proposed by IKAR and Community Corp.

IKAR’s plans are made possible by legislation established by California lawmakers that allows religious organizations to eliminate up to 50% of their on-site parking spaces if they are replaced with affordable housing. Wirtschafter also announced support for the organization as measured by Assemblyman Buffy Wicks, AB 2244, which would provide congregations with a 50% reduction in needed on-site parking when creating affordable housing.

“In Los Angeles, as in cities across the country, the cost of housing, both to rent and to buy, has increased in recent years, but wages and the pace of construction have not kept pace. As a result, we face a massive housing crisis, which is borne disproportionately by those in our cities who have the fewest financial resources: the poor, the elderly, the disabled, women fleeing domestic violence, immigrants and black people, who have been systematically excluded.All of these groups are overrepresented among the homeless,” writes Brooke Wirtschafter, Director of Community Organizing at IKAR.

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