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May 6, 2024

Rep. Barragán Secures $500k Grant for LB Housing Project

Random Lengths News

May 5, 2024

By Daniel Rivera, Reporter

On May 3, Habitat for Humanity Los Angeles announced a new eight-townhouse project in Long Beach and celebrated a $500,000 grant from Rep. Nanette Barragan’s office. The new Habitat for Humanity project will be sited on Orange Avenue in North Long Beach. 

Barragan requested funding from the House Committee on Appropriations in March 2023. 

In the letter, she called the project an appropriate use of taxpayer funds due to its support for constructing new homes with affordable mortgages for low-income families.

“I have had the opportunity to go on their build sites, to help build homes for communities in need, for families in need of housing, so when we saw this opportunity to bring more housing to Long Beach, we said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

Barragan and Habitat have been working together for years, with the representative volunteering with them before her time as a congresswoman. She and the rest of the Habitat Team see it as a crucial part of providing homes to Long Beach while also building generation wealth so that those families can stay in their homes.

“We currently have 36 homes in construction like this in Downtown Long Beach. We have built over 100 homes in the city of Long Beach,” Darrell Simien, Habitat for Humanity’s Senior Vice President of Community Development told Random Lengths News. 

“It’s very lucky it passed because we didn’t know if this was going to be a budget to pass in the congress,” Congresswomen Barragan said, referring to the budgetary impasse that caused by the debt ceiling crisis in 2023. The complete federal budget was passed on April 23 and signed into law by President Joe Biden the next day.  

She explained that it’s difficult to get budget items earmarked in Congress due to a change in the rules for earmarking proposals that prohibit non-profits from receiving community development grants from the federal government. And that the request for the housing grant was made before this change happened back in April, any future grants from the federal government will be more difficult to get if not impossible depending on the classification of the organization.

Barragan explained that ownership interest was prioritized in order to help low income families be able to attain the goal of generational wealth with an affordable mortgage that go toward financing the building of  homes.”

Habitat for Humanity uses traditional contractors, volunteer labor, and the labor of prospective homeowners to build the homes. 

The townhouses will be modular and fabricated off-site in a factory. The modules will then get transported to and assembled on-site with the help of contractors and volunteers. 

The president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Los Angeles Erin Rank told Random Lengths News that this approach will speed up the building process and make it possible to build the homes even faster while keeping costs down. 

Each townhouse has a 1,300 square-foot floor plan, including three to four bedrooms, 2.5-3 baths, and a two-car garage along the alleyway in the back. The site used to be the North Long Beach Library, which closed in 2016 when the Michelle Obama Library on Atlantic Avenue, between Lime and East 59th Street, opened. 

An acquisition loan provided the land for Long Beach Community Investment Company amounting to  $717,000. LBCIC works on behalf of the city and facilitates new homes being built in Long Beach to help address the housing shortages. 

During the conference, Rank said that a “lemming library” will be installed on-site during construction to honor the history of the library that once stood there.