There's already a waiting list for TELACU Gardens, a new affordable-housing project for disabled adults.
The nonprofit East Los Angeles Community Union known by the acronym TELACU built the 24-unit project at 7131 Gage Ave. through a $2-million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The city, which provided the land, contributed an additional $142,000 for balconies, sidewalks and other amenities.
"With this type of successful partnership, TELACU is proud to put its signature on another high-quality development," TELACU President David Lizarraga said at a recent dedication ceremony. "We're proud to be part of a shared mission to provide affordable housing for our citizens in need."
More than 20 people are on a waiting list to move in.
Most of the 24 current residents have never had the opportunity to live on their own, officials said. Once they signed up for the program, they waited for more than a year to be accepted. The tenants, who moved into the units in September, include a deaf college student, six blind people and three people who use wheelchairs.
Most rely on government support to survive. HUD provides subsidies that limit tenants' rental contribution to one-third of their income.
About half of the units have lowered sinks and counters and special "roll-in" showers with benches. All units have emergency alarms in the bedroom and bathroom that allow tenants to call the two resident managers provided by TELACU.
"This is exciting because there's a real feeling of community here," said Edna Pena, one of the resident managers. "I can relate to everyone who has moved in."
Pena, 27, who is hearing-impaired, communicates in sign language, English and some Spanish.
The East Los Angeles Community Union is a nonprofit community development corporation. Its affordable housing division has built or is developing nearly 1,000 housing units for senior citizens and the disabled.
This is TELACU's second complex for the disabled under the HUD program. The first project was the renovation of a 40-unit building in Downtown Los Angeles, TELACU Plaza South Park.
This is also the third TELACU project that is located in and partially funded by Commerce. The first, a 75-unit apartment complex for low-income senior citizens, is across the street from TELACU Gardens, and the second, eight single-family houses built in 1992, is also nearby.