The city's nonprofit agency that develops affordable housing held a "beam signing" Friday in West Hollywood to mark the ongoing construction of the Courtyard at La Brea apartment building.
Elected officials, Weho and Los Angeles County staff members as well as people affiliated with the West Hollywood Community Housing Corp. (WHCHC) filled the sanctuary at Congregation Kol Ami synagogue, which is directly across the street from the construction site.
"This is a typical project in the city of West Hollywood—this is not the kind of thing that happens in every community around the county of Los Angeles," County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said. "There are many communities that shun their obligation to provide affordable housing for the very-low-income, the low-income, for people who are homeless, for people who are one layoff notice away from being homeless."
north of Santa Monica Boulevard will have a two-bedroom manager's apartment, three studio units and the rest will be one-bedroom apartments.
Environmentally friendly features include solar panels for electricity and water heating, water- and energy-conservation systems, recycled materials, an edible garden and a composting program.
"About half of the apartments are reserved for people with special needs and three will be reserved for transition-age youth, which is a population we haven't worked with before," WHCHC Executive Director Robin Conerly told Patch. "These are youth between the ages of 18 and 24 who normally come out of the foster care system."
In addition to the city of West Hollywood and L.A. County, Union Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco provided funding for the $14.8 million project.
West Hollywood City Council members were among speakers who shared remarks before the beam signing took place.
"Besides the political will and money, it's really the vision that [the city council] set out there that this is something that the city needs to achieve," WHCHC board chairman Ramon Mendez said before council members delivered remarks.
"This is an important core value of the city of West Hollywood—providing for those people who are most in need," Mayor Jeffrey Prang said.
"There is no greater sense of accomplishment for somebody who's elected to public office when you're doing something that's good, at a high price sometimes, but it's still the right thing to do," Councilman John Duran said.
"The folks that are coming into this project, we will be transforming their lives," Mayor Pro Tempore Abbe Land said. "And I'm so especially proud of the housing corporation, that you are willing to take in the folks that are really the most disenfranchised—people with mental illness, people who are homeless. Not every housing corporation would do that."
Applications for residency will be available in late spring, Conerly said. Qualified residents are chosen by a lottery.
Conerly expects lots of applicants, noting that the WHCHC received 1,200 applications for its Hayworth House building and 2,000 for the Sierra Bonita Apartments.