Participating in the groundbreaking are, from left, Rev. Martin Porter, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Pastor Kelvin Calloway, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Bishop Clement Fugh, Deborah La Franchi, Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Presiding Elder Roosevelt Lindsey. (Rickey Brown/L.A. Sentinel)

Unhoused individuals will have an opportunity to live in a residence when the new Bethel Manor Apartments open by 2024.

The supportive housing complex, located on 79th Street and Western Avenue in South Los Angeles, will contain 53 single units with private bathrooms and kitchens.  The development’s amenities include a recreational room, rooftop decks, a courtyard, laundry room and a bike storage room.

The project resulted from an innovative partnership between Bethel AME Church and SDS Supportive Fund, which uses private capital to finance construction of permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness.   Bethel Manor Apartments will be erected on church property and offer additional services to assist clients.

A rendering of Bethel Manor Apartments (Rickey Brown/L.A. Sentinel)

During a groundbreaking ceremony on July 28, Bethel Pastor Kelvin T. Calloway, Sr., explained that the ever-growing homelessness crisis moved him and his congregation into action to help resolve the problem.

“We participated in the City of Los Angeles’ initial homeless counting and were made aware, first hand, of the number of persons who were homeless and the problems they faced. As a result, we started having conversations, in both the private and public sectors, regarding ways and resources needed to address the crises,” Calloway said.

From left are Dr. Moses McCutcheon, pro tem of Bethel’s Trustee Board; Pastor Calloway, and Leon Taylor, pro tem of Bethel’s Steward Board. (Rickey Brown/L.A. Sentinel)

According to officials with SDS Supportive Housing Fund, the collaboration with Bethel AME marks the first alliance between a church and private capital investment to address the needs of the homeless community.  The “one-stop” model provides the sole source of funding for the project as well as reduces the cost per unit to $250,000, as opposed to the industry standard of $500,000 per unit.

“I believe that the public/private model that we have developed in addressing this crises is one that can be replicated by and beneficial to other churches in addressing community needs as well as providing financial stability and resources for other church ministries,” noted Calloway.

“I advise other churches and nonprofits to consider housing developments because homes are the answer to homelessness. Additionally, supportive services of life skills, career guidance, mental health and substance abuse counseling, and case management help persons to remain in permanent housing,” he added.

Mayor Garcetti and Congresswoman Bass (Rickey Brown/L.A. Sentinel)

Reflecting how welcome the new development is in South L.A., scores of faith and community leaders attended the groundbreaking ceremony. In addition to Calloway, participants included Bishop Clement W. Fugh, presiding prelate of the AME Church 5th Episcopal District; Deborah La Franchi, founder/CEO of SDS Capital Group and developer of SDS Supportive Housing Fund; AME Presiding Elder Roosevelt Lindsey and Bethel members.

From left are Councilmember Harris-Dawson, Bishop Fugh, Pastor Calloway and Mayor Garcetti. (Rickey Brown/L.A. Sentinel)

Also on hand were Congresswoman Karen Bass, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson as well as Pastor Martin C. Porter, managing partner of LOGOS Faith Development; and Mark Casanova, executive director of Homeless Health Care Los Angeles (HHCLA).

Bethel Manor Apartments is the seventh Los Angeles project financed through SDS Supportive Fund for unhoused individuals.  With a goal of building 1,800 units over the next two years for the homeless, SDS currently has 438 units under construction.