High-quality, affordable housing community in Montebello named for pioneering labor-community activist J.J. Rodriguez

Montebello, CA – Vista de J.J. Rodriguez, a new affordable housing community in Montebello with 63 units for families, including supportive units for survivors of domestic violence, will be dedicated on Friday, June 2 by the Cesar Chavez Foundation in partnership with the Downtown Women’s Center, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit serving and empowering currently and formerly homeless women. It is named for a pioneering Los Angeles labor and community leader who was a key colleague and supporter of civil rights and farm labor leader Cesar Chavez dating back to the 1950s.

“We’re pleased to break ground on our first affordable housing community in Montebello to address the needs of Latinos and working families,” said Chavez Foundation President Paul F. Chavez. “It’s fitting to name this property after J.J. Rodriguez, a dedicated veteran activist in Los Angeles who was an early champion of the Chicano movement.”

The total development cost for the project is $46.7 million. The project received $27.1 million in Tax Credit Proceeds, which will be in partnership with PNC Financial Services. In addition, the project received $4 million from the City of Montebello in the form of a City Land & Impact Fee Loan and $549,000 in the form of a City Development Loan. The project received $2 million in Affordable Housing Trust Funds from the Los Angeles County Development Authority as well as 31 project-based vouchers. The California Department of Housing and Community Development is investing $2.5 million through its Infill Infrastructure Grant Program. The San Gabriel Valley Regional Housing Trust is investing $1.7 million into the project. Lastly, a Permanent Loan of $8.7 million was done in partnership with City National Bank.

“We stand proudly alongside the Cesar Chavez Foundation as a funder and provider of project-based vouchers for this development,” said Emilio Salas, LACDA executive director. “It is an honor to be part of an effort that will not only bring much needed housing to the community, but that will also recognize the legacy of an individual who fought for many years on behalf of the Latino community.”

Vista de J.J. Rodriguez will house a Si Se Puede Learning Center, Chavez Foundation’s flagship afterschool program for young residents, a playground, and multi-use community space. Chavez Foundation and its partners will provide ongoing property management and supportive services for all residents, including social services for survivors of domestic violence through a partnership with the Los Angeles Downtown Women’s Center.

Keeping with the tradition of the farm worker movement, the project memorializes the late J.J. Rodriguez’s lifetime of advocacy for social, labor, and civil rights. He began organizing City of Vernon packinghouse workers in 1928 and helped build their long-dominant packinghouse workers’ union. During the 1950s, Rodriguez was an important activist and leader in Los Angeles with Cesar Chavez in the Community Service Organization Latino civil rights group. For years, he served as president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. When Rodriguez died in 1991, Cesar eulogized his friend as a “pioneering trade unionist who fought many early battles of the Chicano movement.”