DTLA housing helps artists fulfill their Hollywood dreams with co-living, affordable community

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Artist Housing offers affordable living, working space in DTLA
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Artist Housing in downtown L.A. bills itself as the world's first co-living community for film and music artists, with tenants paying not only for a bed and roof, but for the opportunity to work with those around them.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Work in the entertainment industry has been the dream of many for as long as Hollywood has been the entertainment capital of the world. But rent in L.A. County averages over $1,700 a month for a one bedroom and $2,500 for a two bedroom apartment -- so chasing your dream can be expensive.

"You can almost never fit in enough money into acting and you feel like other people are putting in more money in and that causes a budget crunch for so many people," said Elizabeth Swaney, actress and stunt woman.

Kelvin Xuna is trying to ease that burden with Artist Housing in downtown L.A. Billed as the world's first co-living community for film and music artists, tenants pay not only for a bed and roof, but for the opportunity that surrounds them.

"Oh it's super dope. Like, the rent is mad cheap and the studio's right here. We just share the room. Normally you have to book it, but like most of us collaborate with each other anyways, so if somebody needs the room, you know it's whatever," said musician Andre Walker.

"They're paying also for this community and this opportunity that's really rare and unique...especially very necessary in Los Angeles... It helps create this urban fabric that the city wants to create," said Xuna.

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Up to 10 people can share a room, so it's more like a boarding house than luxury apartments. Residents also share a kitchen. There's a gym for working out, and the $600 a month also provides shared working space for various projects in entertainment. And in an industry where booking a job often means leaving home for months at a time, a month to month lease provides flexibility.

"I've had to go to New Orleans, San Francisco, Chicago for work and I would have never been able to do it without the flexibility of artist housing," said producer Dan Hall.

The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation found that tenants in L.A. spend more than 30% of their income on housing. But beyond the cost, being around like-minded individuals with similar goals might be the most critical element for Artist's Housing.

"Either this is the work place or this could be the place where everyone comes together and we start laughing about what we just saw. So you get to create really, really great memories... and I mean that in an authentic way. It's really, really great," said Alexander Michael.

Artist Housing isn't a permanent solution for the "starving artist" but it is serving as a bridge to the promise land.