Bell Shelter begins permanent housing project

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The Bell Oasis Apartments are slated for a spring 2018 opening.

By Laurie Bullock –

The Bell (California) Shelter officially broke ground on a new project to add 64 affordable studio apartment units as permanent supportive dwellings for the homeless, including those facing chronic mental illness or disability and chronic homelessness.
The Bell Oasis Apartments are slated for a spring 2018 opening.

“A project like this doesn’t just happen in a vacuum,” said Major Osei Stewart, General Secretary for the Southern California Division. “It happens because of many like-minded people in the community come together for a common cause and for the common good.”

Over the past few years, Los Angeles has been working to increase low-cost rent throughout the city to address the growing homelessness population. The city declared homelessness to be a state of emergency, with an estimated county homeless population of 47,000 people.

The 68,000-square-foot Bell Oasis complex will allow the Bell Shelter campus to offer facilities for people in all stages of housing transition such as crisis housing, transitional housing and, once completed, permanent supportive housing. The apartments will also have an on-site health clinic, employment services, an exercise room, gym, and community room. Residents of the apartments will be allowed to stay as long as they can pay rent. Residents will also have access to on-site case management and supportive services through referrals and partnerships with other organizations.

Support from the community partners was instrumental, Stewart said. The ceremony honored development partners who donated funds to the project. Supervisor for the First District of Los Angeles County, Hilda L. Solis, and Bell Mayor Fidencio Galiardo spoke on their excitement and support for the Bell Shelter’s work for the homeless community.

Additionally, Ralph Moore spoke on behalf of his late father, Donald D. Hunt. The Hunt family has a long history with the Salvation Army, starting with Donald’s parents both serving when he was a child. In addition to the support the Hunt family has given the Salvation Army over the years, Priscilla Hunt earmarked two million dollars for the Bell Oasis project.

During his speech, Territorial Commander Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder challenged the thought that the 64 units will make little difference in the fight against homelessness in Los Angeles County.

“The victories for which we fight in The Salvation Army happen one at a time,” Hodder said. “Whenever a person comes off the street at night, it’s a victory. Whenever a hungry person receives a hot meal, it’s a victory…whenever one person has a roof over their head and can live with dignity and with hope, and a future, it’s a very big victory indeed.”

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