Community of Friends to build homeless vet housing in IE

February 7, 2023

A Community of Friends CEO Dora Leong Gallo and renderings of the Liberty Lane housing complex at Texas Street and Lugonia Avenue
A Community of Friends CEO Dora Leong Gallo and renderings of the Liberty Lane housing complex at Texas Street and Lugonia Avenue (A Community of Friends, Getty)

Homeless residents in Redlands may soon have a place to call home, despite a legal pushback from neighbors.

A Community of Friends is expected to break ground this spring on Liberty Lane, an 80-unit permanent supportive housing complex for veterans at Texas Street and Lugonia Avenue, the Redlands Daily Facts reported.  

Plans by the Koreatown-based nonprofit developer call for five two-story buildings with 60 one-bedroom, 19 two-bedroom one three-bedroom apartments. Three quarters of the permanent supportive homes will be set aside for homeless vets, with a quarter of the homes set aside for low-income veteran families.

The Liberty Lane project, co-developed with Western Community Housing, will include a common building with a community room, kitchen and laundry facilities. Outside, there will be a picnic and barbecue area, children’s playground, fitness area, water play area for children and community garden, according to its website. 

The $46 million complex was funded by a $23.6 million grant from the California Housing Accelerator program, plus funds from the state Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention program and the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.

“It has been a long road to bring this project to fruition,” Dora Leong Gallo, CEO of A Community of Friends, told the newspaper in an email. The project is slated to break ground in April and be completed in fall 2024.

A Community of Friends pitched the project in 2017. After the City Council majority approved the developer’s plans, a citizens group opposed to high-density housing filed a lawsuit.

In the suit, Citizens for Equitable Redlands argued Liberty Lane would have a negative impact on the environment. A San Bernardino Supreme Court Court judge ruled in favor of the project in 2018.

Mayor Eddie Tejeda, who initially voted against the project because of residents’ concerns, said he’s pleased to see it moving forward.

“This project will help our city provide much needed affordable housing units, which are necessary now that rents are very high across the region,” Tejeda told the Daily Facts.

Last fall, A Community of Friends broke ground on a 49-unit affordable housing complex in Boyle Heights, Urbanize Los Angeles reported, plus a 64-unit project in Hyde Park.

In Los Angeles, a plan to build a 55-unit housing project for homeless veterans near an elementary school in Chatsworth saw pushback in April 2021 from a local councilman and neighbors.

— Dana Bartholomew

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