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Actors Fund breaks ground on affordable housing project in Hollywood for performing arts workers

A rendering of a planned building.
Rendering of the Hollywood Arts Collective at Wilcox and Hollywood.
(The Actors Fund)

The Actors Fund, which provides a safety net for entertainment industry workers, broke ground Thursday on a $120-million affordable housing project in Hollywood.

Scheduled to open in 2024, the Hollywood Arts Collective will include 151 units of affordable housing as well as the 86-seat Glorya Kaufman Theater, art galleries, rehearsal studios, office space for nonprofit arts groups and a new home for the charity’s western region headquarters.

Paul Audley, president of FilmLA, answers questions about Hollywood’s return to work and the organization’s own challenges.

The project has been a decade in the making and is intended to address a shortage of affordable housing in the area. A 2012 survey of housing needs in the local arts community found an overwhelming majority of working artists had been increasingly priced out of the Los Angeles area. It also identified a need for more affordable rehearsal and presentation space in the city.

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The Actors Fund has been among the sources of financial aid to the industry during the pandemic, providing over $19 million in direct assistance to more than 15,000 people in need in the performing arts and entertainment industry.

“People working in show business, they don’t earn a lot of money, and very often they don’t begin earning a lot of money until they’ve been at it for a while, so affordable housing is a big need,” Actors Fund CEO Joseph Benincasa said in an interview. “The Hollywood Arts Collective is a project which is building and strengthening the entertainment community, and the larger community in downtown Hollywood.”

The housing will be offered to arts workers, while the project will also include a training center that will help them develop their careers.

The new supply of affordable rentals comes as entertainment industry workers have been hit hard by the pandemic. The local film and television industry has slowed down massively as a result of the health crisis, and live entertainment has all but shut down.

“Our community has been slammed because of course any sort of live entertainment is completely impossible,” Annette Bening, the Actors Fund vice chair, said in an interview. “There is some shooting going on, but it’s much, much less. So there’s just lots of people who are used to working all the time.”

The Actors Fund has provided shelter for seniors at its nursing home in Englewood, N.J., and has been providing affordable housing for 25 years in New York and New Jersey. It recently renovated a residence in West Hollywood.

The fund said the project was made possible due to $100 million in public support and financing already secured from sources including the city of Los Angeles, the state of California, the Los Angeles Development Fund and the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.

The Actors Fund, which has been working with developers Thomas Safran & Associates on the project, said it expects to raise at least $20 million philanthropically as part of a public capital campaign, with $5 million already raised.

“The Hollywood Arts Collective is a tribute to the Angeleno spirit, combining an affordable place to live with a dynamic place to create, transforming a home for artists into a thriving community for the arts, and breathing new energy into the heart of our city,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement.


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