• Michael Mendoza

Finding support and help: how your community can make a difference

Welcome Everyone and thank you for following us on our journey. For those who are just joining us here's a little story of how RRG came to be, be it "The History of Rosewood Revitalization Group" 👩🏻‍🏫

The Rosewood Revitalization Group, or RRG, was formed as a Los Angeles-based, public benefit corporation on August 11, 2004. Then, on June 25, 2007, it received its status with the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. In the early 2000's, a church called the Rosewood United Methodist Church (RUMC) was running tenements in downtown Los Angeles adjacent to the church sanctuary. These tenements became run down and needed restoration. But the church decided to redevelop the area instead. They formed a “task force” whose mission became to determine the future steps that the church needed to take in order to properly replace the real property that it had owned. This led to the establishment of the church’s nonprofit partner, the Rosewood Revitalization Group.

Subsequently, RRG would sign a sublease with two other partners, the Los Angeles Housing Partnership (LAHP) and Hudson Housing Capital, LLC, to develop a $21 million, affordable housing complex through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. This new housing would become known as the Rosewood Gardens Apartments (RGA), and it would stand grandly over where RUMC’s old tenements once stood. RGA would turn out to be a transit-oriented, five-story residential building over an on-grade podium and a subterranean parking garage. The complex now includes 54 one-bedroom units for active seniors, a 2,650 square foot community center, four laundry rooms, a central landscaped courtyard and private balconies. RGA’s central distinction is that of being the first mid-rise affordable housing project in the city of Los Angeles to obtain the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification at the GOLD level.

The partnership between RRG and LAHP is a general partnership. LAHP is responsible for property management, while RRG was to create a community outreach program intended for the senior tenants at RGA as well as the surrounding neighborhood. But the real owners of RGA is Hudson Housing. Hudson functions as a special partner to both RRG and LAHP. They provided the initial investment for the development of RGA, and they continue to absorb the tax credits until the “compliance period” of the LIHTC program ends after 2024. LAHP and RRG also benefit by contract from development fees. However, they don’t always receive these fees, because the rental income from affordable housing is so low. For RGA, it is only $30,000 per annum. Thus, at this writing, LAHP is owed $280,000 in development fees, and RRG about $93,000, much of it in arrears. Incidentally, after 2024, Hudson Housing will offer RRG (not LAHP) ownership of RGA. This is in the sublease contract. But RRG must purchase RGA at market rate from Hudson Housing.

In due time, RRG was able to create its own programs. The first is a food distribution program which is now known as “Every Man’s Pantry”. This program started in 2010. Since then, Every Man’s Pantry has received agency status with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. It is currently being offered once a month mostly to low and moderate income clients. Every Man’s Pantry receives nearly 5,000 pounds of free food units on the food bank’s menu and distributes them to as many as 120 clients per month. The staging area for Every Man’s Pantry is the Montebello First United Methodist Church, where it takes place during the third Saturday of each month between 1pm and 3pm. The Program Coordinator for Every Man’s Pantry is Reuel “Chip” Aquino.

RRG has also created a second program called “Under The Tree”. This event was first held in 2010, and it is an annual community resource fair. It is the mission of Under The Tree to create networking relationships and partnerships with other area nonprofits, such as the Department of Public Social Services, the San Gabriel Valley Family YMCA, the Salvation Army, QueensCare Health Centers, Youth Source, and the Housing + Community Investment Department to develop ameliorative outreach strategies to the general community, with particular emphasis to indigent, homeless and special needs populations. The Event Coordinator for Under The Tree is Sandra Benavides.

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