DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — SRO Housing Corp. is transforming the Rosslyn, once considered one of LA’s most luxurious hotels, from a Skid Row flophouse into a refuge for those looking for affordable housing.
“SRO stands for single-room occupancy. We provide housing and supportive services to homeless and low-income individuals in an area who live in an area more commonly known as Skid Row,” SRO Housing CEO Anita Nelson said. “I will never forget the first time someone said ‘Thank you for giving me a home and thank you for believing in me.’ ”
The nonprofit organization acquires old buildings around Skid Row and renovates them into low-income housing.
“We have been able to help thousands of individuals over our 30-year history,” Nelson said. “We’re one of the few organizations that provides the full continuum of housing, which is emergency, transitional and permanent supportive housing.”
They’ve created permanent housing for 2,300 people, with another 500 on the waiting list.
“We want to get them off the street as quickly as possible,” Nelson said.
The 13-story building at Fifth and Main streets is the 30th property SRO has added to its offerings. The two towers that once made the Rosslyn Hotel were constructed in the early 20th century and had been a destination for wealthy tourists and businessmen. But as the area around it fell victim to hard economic times, so did the hotel.
Some of the 264 studio apartments at the Rosslyn have been rented. As many as 93 apartments will be dedicated to homeless veterans and persons with mental illness.
Sandra Valentine spent two years in shelters before ending up on the streets. SRO gave her a place to call home at their Gateways Apartments.
“I am a survivor of domestic violence,” Valentine said. “You sleep on the street, you sleep in the parks, you sleep wherever it is you can sleep to find refuge.”
“They opened the door to a new way of living. I no longer have to carry my life on my back. I can now feel secure that there’s a place to lay my head,” Valentine said.