Ward Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has partnered with Integral to transform the historic Casa de Rosas into a campus for homeless single-parent veterans.
During a Ground Blessing Ceremony ceremony on August 22, WEDC and Integral staff joined with clergy, elected officials and community leaders to invoke God’s guidance as prepare to redevelop the 29,900 square feet complex into permanent housing with a range of onsite, supportive services.
The ceremony featured prayers of thanksgiving and encouragement by the Rev. Oliver Buie, an associate minister at Holman United Methodist Church and Pastor Joyce Kitchen of Emmanuel- Turner AME Church. Also, Pastor John Cager of Ward AME Church delivered the powerful ground blessing followed by each participant receiving a small mason jar with dirt from the site. Attendees were asked to offer ongoing prayer during the 18-month construction period for the workers and incoming residents, and re-deposit the dirt at the ribbon cutting ceremony once the facility is ready for occupancy.
“The stakeholders in the West Adams area are excited that Casa De Rosas is poised to be restored physically and its mission of shelter for “the least of these” is protected,” said Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, WEDC president.
“We appreciate Councilman Curren Price whose vision for diverse housing options to meet the needs of our veterans is fueling so many new opportunities in the new 9th District. We are also thankful for the support of the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department and Congresswoman Karen Bass, a champion for women veterans, whose encouraging words brought tears of joy and hope for tomorrow.”
WEDC has a long history of investing in the South L.A. community. Established in 1987 as one of the first faith-based EDCs in the city, it currently operates three housing complexes for low-income families and seniors in L.A. Integral, founded in 1998, is noted for creating sustainable master-planned, mixed-use, mixed-income communities. The development team for Casa de Rosas also includes Curtom-Dunsmuir Construction, M2A Architect, GPA Consulting, TelaCu, and RAW International.
The Casa De Rosas complex, which will be renovated for approximately $14 million, will provide housing for 35 families. Funding for the project comes from a combination of public, low-income housing tax credits/bond, and conventional loan dollars. Several agencies are collaborating on the development effort including L.A. Trade Tech College, USC, Mount Saint Mary University, L.A. County Patriotic Hall, Ward AME Church, Holman UMC, Holman CDC, Coalition for Responsible Community Development and L.A. Metro.
The historic Casa de Rosas building was designed by Sumner P. Hunt and built in 1893. Also known as the Froebel Institute (an experimental kindergarten) and the Sunshine Mission (a shelter for homeless women), the campus has been used over the years as a college preparatory school for girls, an inn and restaurant, a military barracks in World War II and the headquarters of L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics Foundation.
In 1941, Sister Essie West, an understudy of Aimee Semple McPherson, utilized Casa de Rosas as a women’s shelter. However, the buildings have been in decline since 1970’s when the mission was closed down briefly for fire and safety violations, consequently kicking 25 women out on the streets. In 1981, the buildings were declared a historical monument.
Now that the campus will be redeveloped to once again serve the community, many people showed their support by attending at the Ground Blessing Ceremony. On hand for the event were the staffs of the offices of State Senator Isadore Hall, State Assemblymen Reggie Jones-Sawyer and Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, and Mayor Eric Garcetti.
In addition, guests were entertained with music by Roger and Cheryl Reid of RogCher, refreshments by Myheshia Coleman, a balloon trail by K Balloons, photography by Ian Foxx and special coordination by Ingrid Hutt.
“The staffs of Council District Nine, Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department, WEDC and Integral spared no effort to make this a blessed event,” said Dupont-Walker.
For more information about Casa de Rosas, call (213) 747-1188.