On September 9, 2016 Little Tokyo Service Center and the Korean Resource Center celebrated the completion of Durae Senior Apartments. Durae Senior Apartments provides 67 units of affordable housing for low-income seniors on two separate sites in the Koreatown/Wilshire neighborhood. 16 of the units are studios, 49 are one-bedroom units, and two one-bedroom manager’s units. The Korean Resource Center will provide culturally specific services for the senior residents, many of whom are monolingual Korean-speaking. The lack of senior specific affordable housing has been one of the main obstacles to dignified lives for low-income seniors particularly as housing prices continue to rise in Los Angeles. The building establishes a new precedent for what can be achieved in gentrifying communities of color in Los Angeles.
“Durae” is a Korean word that roughly describes the ancient agrarian practice of community barn-raising. The spirit of helping one another is apt for Durae Senior Apartments, where it took a village to build this senior affordable housing complex, which was nearly ten years in the making. After surviving the Great Recession, it is now part of the solution to the local housing crisis. Little Tokyo Service Center was able to weather the foreclosure crisis with a two-pronged approach: adding a third development partner and acquiring an additional site, which provided an economy of scale as well as a net increase in the total number of units. Koreatown, historically known for affordable rent-controlled apartments, has been experiencing a wave of gentrification with new luxury apartments under construction in recent years, exacerbating the housing crisis. Durae Senior Apartments received over 3,000 applications in just 17 days. This extreme demand for affordable housing is evidence of the dire importance of increasing housing available, especially for more vulnerable populations like seniors.
All units are affordable for seniors (ages 62 and above) with income ranges from 30% to 50% of the average median income of Los Angeles County. Design of the Durae Crenshaw House building integrates seamlessly with the neighborhood’s mixed zoning by combining a strong façade fronting Crenshaw with a more residential-friendly courtyard at the site’s core. Each apartment building includes secured subterranean parking, a large landscaped central courtyard, on-site laundry facilities and a community room with a kitchen. In addition, a property management office is located on the ground floor. The building has been designed to accommodate seniors at different stages in the aging process with various physical abilities. Individual units have grab bars, are pre-wired for emergency call systems and have no slip surfaces. It is projected that Durae Senior Apartments will exceed California’s Energy Efficiency Standards by over 20%.
In addition to providing high quality housing, the development offers community and social service space to its residents. On-site resident services provided by Korean Resource Center will include social and cultural services for seniors to maintain an active and connected lifestyle and provide any needed referrals to off-site health services. A resident manager will also live on-site to assist residents capable of independent living.
With a total development cost of nearly $26 million, Durae Senior Apartments would not have been possible without numerous funding partners including the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee, California Department of Housing and Community Development: Infill Infrastructure Grant, Housing and Community Investment Department of the City of Los Angeles, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, Citi Bank, CRA/LA, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco: Affordable Housing Program, MUFG Union Bank, and the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles. The Housing and Community Investment Department of the City of Los Angeles provided almost $8 million in funding, and Union Bank provided $10 million in tax credit equity investment.
The Korean Resource Center, alongside a coalition of other voting rights organizations, have continued to fight for district elections in Fullerton. In the effort to create fair districts, KRC had continued to be a part of 10 additional public hearings and community meetings where we engaged a new electorate of Asian-Americans in the city. The Asian-American community, alongside the Latino and other Fullerton residents created a map that reflected the wishes of the city. However, KRC continues to fight a strong opposition that wishes to maintain the status quo of Fullerton, still seeking to strengthen the voice of privileged voters in Fullerton. KRC, moving into the Fall of 2016, will continue to fight for Asian-American representation moving forward.
KRC’s Senior group Community Health Promoters (CHP) met monthly in 2016 to do membership education on social security, importance of voting and immigration reform. CHP organized a petition campaign to elected officers urging for procurement of funding for more low-income and senior housing, and gathered 5,000 petitions.
Ten CHP members called 15,000 Korean American voters providing education on the Fullerton District elections process and encouraging participation in the presidential primary elections. In Fullerton, seniors have started meeting around the Fullerton District elections work.
With a successful start to Orange County youth organizing in 2015, the KRC Orange County office continued to build a strong volunteer base across Orange County campuses with youth leaders who have led voter registration and ballot measure efforts around the school-to-prison pipeline. After over 200 sign ups from youth who are interested in further organizing, KRC has begun professionally training future campaign managers in the fight for a more just community across Orange County. Assisting with campaigns such as the Fullerton District Elections, early Prop 55 and 57 as well as launching one of the largest statewide voter registration efforts in the country, KRC will continue to work on making progressive campaigns into Fall 2016 and into 2017.
In 2016, KRC's expected revenue is $1,444,215* and consists of:
- $565,604 Foundation
- $339,309 Collaboratives - KRC has joined various collaborative networks to jointly apply for funding
- $232,607 Programs - funding per application filed, translation or consultation support for other organizations
- $187,853 Community - Brick by Brick, Donations, Annual Dinner, Board of Directors
- $64,500 Corporate
- $52,685 Membership Dues
- $1,658 Other
KRC's projected expenses is $1,448,447* and consists of:
- $1,013,941 Personnel
- $221,839 Programs
- $105,502 Operations
- $75,000 Reserves
- $32,195 Regrants to other nonprofits