ALA Story

Janet L. Witkin, Founder of ALA

In 1978, Janet was caring for her grandfather who was becoming not only more frail, but more isolated.  She was struck with the inadequacy of his options: He could remain alone at home with little support or move to an institution where he’d forfeit his independence.  Her love for her grandfather inspired Janet to create the first shared housing program for seniors in Los Angeles.

Between 1982 and 1991, ALA created five shared living residences for low-income seniors. Janet translated this concept into a program that matched isolated and financially vulnerable seniors together to share homes. 

When Janet passed away in February 2009, the Board of Directors were committed to carrying on her vision for offering seniors housing options based on reciprocity and socialization.

In early 2010, ALA expanded its services to meet the needs of an aging homeless population. In October of 2010, ALA opened Bonnie Brae Village, a 92-unit property with onsite staff to provide mental health and case management services.

In 2014, ALA completed the Janet L. Witkin Center, a legacy project that memorializes the founder's vision. The Witkin Center houses low-income and formerly homeless seniors in a beautiful 5-story structure with a courtyard, community spaces, and the rooftop Sheldon W. Andelson Family Community Garden.

Mission & Vision

ALA’s mission is to enrich the Los Angeles community by providing seniors with affordable housing, services and linkages to supportive services.

ALA aspires to provide the highest level of quality programs that are relevant and responsive to seniors' evolving needs.  These programs include:  housemate matching, shared living, permanent supportive housing, and independent living.  ALA pursues its vision using a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable framework.