Taking a break from raving about where in DC you can stuff your face (and your pants) and going on and on about what to do with your free time to bring you a dose of inspiration and something that hits home (pun totally intended). There are, unfortunately, many things in the world that tug at the heartstrings and well up the eyes – and homelessness is among them. Everyone deserves a safe place to rest at the end of the day. A warm bed. A tiny corner to call their own. While this, among many other things, is never a guarantee, we are lucky to have so many unique programs and initiatives fighting modern-day homelessness with impressive determination.
A recent project that has, with good reason, caught the eye of many news publications and others is “The Six.” The Six certainly deserves the praise and pats on the back it has been getting. Put quite simply, The Six is meant to provide high-quality, affordable, and sustainable housing to a population of veterans that might otherwise be forced to leave the L.A. area due to sky-high prices. Specifically, according to Curbed, the project is intended to support “once-homeless veterans and disabled people.” In fact, the name is inspired by a military expression, “I’ve got your six,” which more or less means, “I’ve got your back.” Are those tears welling up yet?
The project spans 42,500 square-feet, providing 52 units in addition to support services, rehabs, and a community-centric atmosphere. Almost no need was left unnoticed, with the facility including space for onsite health and wellness programs in addition to courtyards and plentiful outdoor spaces.
The project is a result of the Skid Row Housing Trust, which according to their website, “provides permanent supportive housing so that people who have experience homelessness, prolonged extreme poverty, poor health, disabilities, mental illness, and/or addiction can lead safe, stable lives in wellness.” If their actions don’t already give you the warm and fuzzies, then their values will probably due the trick. Some of them include:
- Homelessness is a reversible circumstance, not a personal characteristic.
- People with the most sever illnesses and disabilities should not be left to perish on our sidewalks.
- A social safety net that is sustainable, compassionate, accessible, and flexible is vital to wellness.
- Everyone has a role to play in ending homelessness in greater Los Angeles.
The Six is the first Skid Row Housing Trust project to be built outside of L.A’s downtown city limits. It’s a certified LEED Platinum build, with many energy efficient measures on display. The units are above average in comparison to typical affordable housing projects, with each unit featuring bonuses such as 10-foot-high ceilings, solar panels, energy efficient appliances, and water-saving fixtures.
Credit for the actual design of the project goes to architecture firm Brooks + Scarpa. The project certainly meets a need – Los Angeles has the highest number of homeless veterans in the entire country. In 2015, it was reported that there were 4,016 homeless veterans within city limits, which was more than twice the next largest homes veteran population, claimed by New York City. Speaking on the project, Dana Trukillo, the chief real estate officer at the Trust, says:
“It’s part of out larger goal to bring quality permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless to other areas in Southern California where there is a significant homeless problem. The Six is consistent with the Trust’s emphasis on high-quality design that creates a community landmark for individuals who are high in need of housing and services.”