Affordable housing complex gives artists a refuge from SoCal housing crisis

By Nadine Ono : caeconomy – excerpt

CandyJo Dahlstrom and her husband are working artists in Southern California. Like many, they are freelancers who live without a regular paycheck and often find themselves struggling to pay rent. But they are lucky, after finding a home and community in Glendale’s Ace 121, a new affordable housing complex for working artists.

“Everybody is struggling in this economy and then being an artist who doesn’t have consistent income it was always really hard for us to make rent and still be able to have any money to do anything on the side,” said Dahlstrom, who works as a make-up artist, costumer designer, dance instructor, while her husband teaches writing and acting.

She has three children and the family was living in a two-bedroom apartment before moving to Ace 121. “We’ve been barely scraping by paycheck to paycheck, even needing help from friends and family for the past couple years.”

“All communities in L.A. are in dire need of affordable housing,” said Michelle Coulter, project manager at Meta Housing Corporation, which developed the 70-unit complex. “Glendale took advantage of an opportunity and, given their unique partnership with the YMCA, this project was a serendipitous result of that opportunity.”…

With more than a third of California’s renters paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing, artists and others would stand to benefit from affordable units and also housing policies that help fill demand and take a bite out of the growing affordability problem. Ace 121 is a good example of placing affordable housing near transit and jobs as well as adding value to the neighborhood and community, which are included in the California Economic Summit’s Housing Action Plan.

“We feel it’s an important priority, especially given the importance of artists in L.A., frankly as an industry, this is so much a part of our industrial base,” said Coulter. “We’re not talking about creative communities just for the sake of creative communities, we’re talking about the industrial base for our (Los Angeles) County.”… (more)



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