The Actors Fund, the national human services organization for everyone in the performing arts and entertainment community, gave the newly renovated Palm View apartments at 980 Palm Avenue, the ribbon-cutting treatment earlier this month on Thursday, September 9. West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath, Mayor Pro Tempore Lauren Meister, and council members Sepi Shyne and John Erickson, joined The Actors Fund Trustee & Chair of the Western Council David Rambo, LA County Development Authority (LACDA) Executive Director Emilio Salas, and others for the unveiling of the 17.8M, 40-unit, three-building housing complex, home to low-income people with special needs who are working or have worked in the entertainment industry.
The Palm View originally opened in 1998 to provide affordable housing to people living with AIDS but expanded its mission in 2015 to serve people with disabilities and special needs. The Actors Fund purchased The Palm View Apartments in November 2018.
The renovation included property updates to make the units as well as common spaces more accessible for its residents, ensuring all units follow current ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations. There are now 5 fully ADA-compliant units on the property, designed specifically for wheelchair-users. All of the other 34 units are ADA-adaptable, and can be modified to meet the needs of current and future residents with varying disabilities and special needs.
As part of the renovation, all one-bedroom units and one of the 2-bedroom units are subsidized by the Section 8 Project-Based Voucher Rental Assistance Program provided by the LACDA, to ensure that the complex is housing people who are most in need financially, and that rents will remain affordable for tenants.
The project involved a full renovation of every unit, including new bathrooms and kitchens with all new appliances, counters and cabinetry. All units were painted, light fixtures updated, and residents had the choice between 3 different flooring colors. New HVAC systems were installed in every unit, as well as windows to meet environmental standards. The entire building was replumbed.
The Palm View’s Community Room, which hosts events and programs for residents, was completely redone with a new kitchen, bathroom and mailbox area. The Community Room’s second floor now features a revamped computer lab and a private office for the complex’s full-time, on-site social worker. The elevator and laundry rooms were upgraded, and the camera system was replaced for added security. Though no major changes could be made to the façade of the building, as elements of the historic property needed to be preserved, the building was repaired where needed, and updated with new paint, a new roof and drought-resistant landscaping.
Residents of The Palm View Apartments have begun to utilize the newly renovated space. This past July, the residents gathered for a pandemic-safe 4th of July picnic in the Courtyard, wearing masks and remaining socially distant while enjoying the new barbecues and patio furniture. The Palm View has also transitioned its art class back to in-person, and residents now meet weekly in the Courtyard to paint and socialize.
The $17.8 million renovation project of The Palm View began in 2019, and amid challenges and delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, was completed at the end of 2020. This project was possible through a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and partners who provided funding in various ways: LACDA, WEHO, RBC Community Investments and Chase Community Development Banking.
Eligibility requirements for apartments at The Palm View are based on a professional history in the arts, a diagnosis of a permanent disability (applicants must be receiving disability benefits) and annual income criteria established by the federal government. The annual income to qualify as a Palm View resident is a maximum of $27,036 for one bedrooms, and $35,232 –$60,840 for two bedrooms. All residents of one-bedroom apartments, as well as one of the two-bedroom apartments, are eligible to apply to participate in the project-based voucher contract with the Los Angeles County Development Authority. Applicants may request an accessible unit by checking the appropriate box on the application or by making a verbal request to staff during the screening process if called for an interview.
A small number of units are available to non-arts professionals. Household size for a one-bedroom apartment is 1–2 people, and occupancy for a two-bedroom apartment is 2–4 people.
The Palm View complex was a bungalow at 986-988 Palm Avenue, now part of 980 Palm Avenue, located in the Craftsman District. West Hollywood Historic Preservation reports the Craftsman bungalow replaced the hip-roofed cottage as the housing type of preference in West Hollywood in the early 1910s. The Craftsman style of architecture is characterized by simplified detailing and exposed structure elements. Structures elaborated in this style, incorporate such elements as gabled roofs, with overhanging eaves, exposed rafters and purlins, and paired porch supports.
Craftsman structures still exist throughout West Hollywood, with the largest concentration encompassing the area along North Hancock Avenue and North Palm Avenue. The majority of these homes were built in the area between 1910 and 1925 when the Town of Sherman began to expand. Beginning at the turn of the century, the Sherman community was composed of working and middle-class individuals whose needs were well served by Craftsman homes. Craftsman bungalows were “democratic homes,” designed for comfort and efficiency, easy to erect, and available at an affordable cost.
For more information on The Palm View, please visit: Actorsfund.org.