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L.A. Housing Authority to begin rebuilding Pico-Aliso public-housing community.

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 10, 1996--The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles has received the green light to begin one of the most ambitious and socially significant urban- redevelopment efforts in the city's history.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in its letter of approval for the $50 million program to Housing Authority Executive Director Don Smith, said it is ``pleased to inform the Housing Authority that the HOPE VI Revised Revitalization Plan grant for Pico Gardens-Aliso Apartments has been approved.''

``We are celebrating HUD's blessing,'' said Chairperson Ozie B. Gonzaque, HACLA Board of Commissioners. ``This grant is an approval of our approach to revolutionary social change in the Pico-Aliso community.''

``The revitalization plan, the largest west of the Mississippi River,'' said Smith, ``will occur in three phases. All 577 units of the Pico Gardens-Aliso Apartments public-housing community will be demolished and reconstructed, the administrative offices and community spaces will be replaced with 280 new public townhouse rentals, 60 for-sale affordable townhouses and 100 senior-citizen apartments.''

The major face lift includes new facilities for resident management, maintenance, recreation, and social and educational services. HUD also awarded 216 Section 8 certificates to provide temporary housing for families displaced by the demolition and reconstruction.

``The program includes a community-development approach which seeks the full input and participation of the residents,'' said Xavier Mendoza, director of HACLA's Urban Revitalization Demonstration (URD).

``We are also providing funds to assist the residents with educational training, job opportunities and social programs to help them become more involved in the security and management of their newly revitalized environments.''

``This is an opportunity for the community to make a difference in their living environment,'' said Jose Soto, president of the Pico-Aliso Resident Advisory Council.

The Pico-Aliso public-housing community was built in the 1940s and '50s on 23.2 acres in Boyle Heights. More than 95 percent of resident families are classified as ``very low-income'' (below 30 percent of the city's median income).

The city of Los Angeles will provide nearly $500,000 ($494,730) in matching funds. The Housing Authority will own and manage the development during and after the revitalization.

The cost to demolish the units, temporarily relocate residents and reconstruct the units is less expensive than remodeling existing units to bring them up to decent standards, according to Smith.

``Residents have been providing input through our regular planning meetings and workshops on all aspects of the revitalization,'' said Smith. ``That gives them pride in the place they can call home sweet home.''

CONTACT: Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles

George McQuade, 213/252-1862
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:May 10, 1996
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