Joe Ramirez couldn’t wait to plop down on the couch he can now call his own.
After years of living in an adult group home where he received services and assistance for his developmental disability, Ramirez now has his own studio apartment in Long Beach.
Ramirez joined city and nonprofit officials in Trolley Park on Wednesday, June 26, to mark the ribbon-cutting of a five-unit affordable complex for adults with special needs, just like him.
The building, located in the 100 block of Redondo Avenue, is an important addition to the Bluff Park neighborhood, Mayor Robert Garcia and Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price said.
The project, which will house seven low-income people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, was a partnership between the city, the Long Beach Community Investment Company, the Harbor Regional Center and the nonprofit Home Ownership for Personal Empowerment (HOPE).
The building, dubbed HOPE on Redondo, includes five furnished units with accessible features. Harbor Regional Center will offer on-site 24/7 service assistance for its residents.
Both Garcia and Price took the occasion to welcome Ramirez and his fellow tenants to the neighborhood.
Garcia said there are 5,000 people in Long Beach who are living with developmental disabilities, many of whom need the type of support the building will offer. For the seven folks who will call HOPE on Redondo home, Garcia said he was glad the city could contribute to the cause.
“It’s a privilege and an honor for us to have you as one of our residents here,” Garcia said to Ramirez. “We are a better city because you live here.”
Price said that amid an important larger conversation about the lack of housing in the city and state, the new Redondo Avenue units represent a solution.
“I am very, very mindful of how important it is for us to not just have housing,” Price said. “So often, the conversation is just about housing. That’s not the solution. The solution is housing with supportive services. The solution is housing with a safety net.”
Ramirez, for his part, said he was grateful for the opportunity to call Bluff Park home.
“I walked in the apartment, and I was like, ‘This is crazy. This is really good,’” Ramirez said. “I’m happy. From the heart, I’m really happy to be here. It’s amazing.”