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Central Long Beach affordable housing project officially opens; already 99% leased

Wellspring features 88 one-, two- and three-bedroom units for individuals and families making 30-60% of Long Beach's median income.

Central Long Beach affordable housing project officially opens; already 99% leased
City officials, residents, developers and investors celebrated the grand opening of Wellspring, an 88-unit affordable housing complex at 1500 E. Anaheim St. in Central Long Beach, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Residents of a recently completed affordable housing project were joined by city officials, the developer and their partners Tuesday to celebrate the grand opening of Wellspring in Central Long Beach.

Located at 1500 E. Anaheim St., Wellspring features 88 one-, two- and three-bedroom units for individuals and families making 30-60% of the area median income, with 20 units set aside as permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless seniors.

“When I was a young man, I had a dream of becoming a longshoreman — working for and earning a good living for myself and my family — but life had other plans for me,” said Gregory “Jerome” Brown, a 62-year-old resident of Wellspring who was previously living out of his car.

Brown was born in Tuscaloosa but his family moved to Long Beach when he was three months old, he said in an interview. Today, Brown lives off of social security and disability due to severe arthritis.

“The moment I moved into my own apartment … was a moment of relief for the first time in a long time,” Brown said. “I had a place to call home and a weight had been lifted off my shoulder.”

Gregory "Jerome" Brown, who was formerly unhoused but now lives at the new Wellspring affordable housing complex, speaks during a grand opening ceremony for the project at 1500 E. Anaheim St. in Long Beach Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Photo by Brandon Richardson

Wellspring was years in the making, according to Kenneth Novack, chair of developer BRIDGE Housing, who said the movement really began in 2016. The project did not break ground until October 2021.

As with all affordable housing construction, Novack told the Watchdog that piecing together funding for the nearly $58 million project was the greatest challenge. In the end, it took nine organizations, including U.S. Bank and the city of Long Beach, to make it a reality.


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“Fundamentally, this is a high-quality project, no different in quality than a market-rate project,” Novack said.

While construction fences are still up, the project was mostly completed by July of last year when the company began accepting applications from potential residents. Property manager Phelicia Wright told the Watchdog that they received more than 5,000 applications. The project is already 99% leased, she said.

“It shows the need that’s in the city,” Wright said, noting that some residents do not have to pay any rent at all.

The living area and kitchen inside a two-bedroom unit at Wellspring, a new affordable housing complex at 1500 E. Anaheim St. in Long Beach, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

The property includes a host of amenities for its residents, including a community room with a kitchen, two offices for resident services, free community room WiFi, a large outdoor terrace on the fourth floor with a playground and exercise equipment, shared laundry facilities on each floor, on-site parking and bicycle parking.

Resident services are provided by Mental Health America Los Angeles and the YMCA of Greater Long Beach. Additionally, TCC Family Health owns an 18,000-square-foot health and wellness center on the ground floor of Wellspring.


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“We currently serve over 7,000 patients within a one-mile radius from here,” TCC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Maria Chandler said, adding that the new facility will offer a slew of services, including pediatrics, women’s care, dental, prenatal, behavioral health, vaccines and more.

The health and wellness center will also feature classes such as multicultural and intergenerational nutritional cooking, exercise and relaxation activities such as yoga and zumba, gardening and office spaces.

Mayor Rex Richardson, left, tours a two-bedroom unit at Wellspring, a new affordable housing complex at 1500 E. Anaheim St. in Long Beach, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Mayor Rex Richardson was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, touting the city’s housing creation progress. He claimed that Long Beach has entitled and built more affordable housing in the last few years than the next nine cities in Los Angeles County building similar units combined. While this is good news, Long Beach still has a long way to go to build the 26,000 units mandated by the state.

“We know that right now we’ve seen unprecedented growth in homelessness between 2020 and 2022,” Richardson said. “We believe in housing in Long Beach, we want to build it and we want it to be affordable for our residents.

“It’s a simple vision that sometimes is hard when you have pressures that may say … ‘we want housing but we just don’t want it right here next to us,’” Richardson continued. “So we have to be bold and visionary … and show what affordable housing actually looks like. Great projects like this.”

People enjoy the fourth-floor outdoor terrace at Wellspring, a new affordable housing complex at 1500 E. Anaheim St. in Long Beach, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

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