Summer 2019 Newsletter

The book fair mascot with a young boy holding two books

A Message from our Executive Director

Dear Friends & Supporters,

As students enter another school year, the new beginning brings excitement for what is yet to come, and reflection for what has come to pass. Therefore we are dedicating this edition of our newsletter to the students and to new beginnings. 

This has been an unprecedented year of new beginnings here at Hollywood Community Housing, especially for the hundreds of people who have new apartment homes in three buildings that have recently opened. Since the beginning of 2019 we have also broken ground on three buildings that will create an additional 223 affordable rental homes in Los Angeles County.

Providing new beginnings and opportunities for our residents has been at the heart of our organization’s mission from inception. In this newsletter, I am proud to share examples of our work that aspire to fulfill our mission, including the Books, Backpacks and Bright Futures events we hold for our school-aged resident and the dedication of the Brown Family Reading Room at one of our newest properties. As we say good bye to beach days, backyard barbecues and long summer nights, we now set our sights on brighter futures for all Angelinos.  

Warmest regards,


Books, Backpacks & Bright Futures Program

To kick off the summer, the children of HCHC were treated to their very own Scholastic Book Fair, where they picked out their choice of up to 4 books. With books in hand, the kids were able to sign up for the summer reading challenge and a bookmark contest. 

With the gracious support of Janet and Mark Brown, the program creates opportunities for students to use their imaginations and to set goals for the future. 

Mrs. Brown, a former Kindergarten teacher, believes wholeheartedly in the benefits of early childhood education and how reading enhances a child’s life. 

“It is important for children to read early so they continue reading throughout their lives,” Janet said. “Reading creates a closeness with a parent or caretaker. It leads to them starting conversations  and to being curious about the world.” 

Sharing the same core values as Mrs. Brown, Mr. Brown feels strongly about doing everything one can to provide a child with solid building blocks to prepare them for life. 

“We are very excited to be able to support non-profit work because the public sector always needs assistance so we try to help in any way that we can.  It is important to be involved whether financially, physically  or by volunteering.” 

Developing the partnership between HCHC and The Brown Family evolved naturally over the past three years, and the journey has led us to this pivotal moment. The Books, Backpacks and Bright Futures Program is growing and with your help, we can take it to the next level.

This year, HCHC is celebrating its 30th Anniversary and Janet and Mark Brown want to honor this milestone by matching all donations given to the BBBF Program up to $15,000!

If you or someone you know would like to help support the program, please click the donate button.

On June 18th our 3rd Annual Scholastic Book Fair at Mariposa Apartments was held giving the children of HCHC a very special treat. HCHC staff and  Scholastic Books, gave our students the opportunity to select 4 of their favorite books and the Brown Family generously covered all the costs of the book fair. 

Bookmark Design Contest

(Left to right) First Place: Valerie L. 11 years old / Second Place: Katrin S. 12 years old / Third Place: Jacob S. 7 years old
Pictured here with Janet & Mark Brown, first place winner, Valerie L. 11 years old
Executive Director Sarah Letts with second place winner, Katrin S., 12 years old
 Third place winner, Jacob S., 7 years old. 


Dedication of The Brown Family Reading Room
at Coronel Apartments

During the Grand Opening of Coronel Apartments,  HCHC dedicated “The Brown Family Reading Room,” in honor of the commitments made by Janet and Mark Brown to the Books, Backpacks and Bright Futures Program. The room will be a special place where families can enjoy storytime with their children. 

Coronel Apartments Grand Opening

On Thursday, August 22nd, HCHC celebrated the Grand Opening of Coronel Apartments located in the heart of Hollywood. 

We were so privileged to be surrounded by a devoted group of individuals who put their hearts into their work by supporting not only affordable housing but in creating a place for our residents to call home.

We would like to thank the following supporters for their unwavering dedication to the project : Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, Rushmore Cervantes, the General Manager for the Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department, Charmaine Atherton, Senior Vice President for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Sebastian Glowacki, Vice President for US Bank Community Development Corporation and Marina Martos Dabel, the Senior Planning Manager for Kilroy Realty Corporation.

Groundbreaking of
Gramercy Place Apartments

In June,  we celebrated the ground breaking of Gramercy Place Apartments located in the heart of Los Angeles. This 64 unit affordable housing complex will be the future home of people aged 55 and over.

We are so grateful to the many partners involved in bringing this project to life. Thank you to Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Los Angeles City Council President Herb J. Wesson, Jr. for your continued leadership, support, and efforts toward ending homelessness.

Amazing Grace Conservatory

In June, our Gramercy Place Groundbreaking ceremony was hosted by Amazing Grace Conservatory (AGC). AGC welcomed us into their performing arts space with open arms and we were treated to musical performances by their talented students and instructors.

“When I think of home I think of a place where there’s love overflowing,” These are the opening lyrics to the song “Home” from the musical The Wiz, and more importantly, lyrics that inspire infinite possibilities. For AGC, there was no question in choosing to perform the song “Home” for the Gramercy Place Groundbreaking Ceremony. And just like the Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion it takes brains, courage and heart to build a home. 

For 23 years,  AGC has been a beacon of light in the community, providing a home away from home, creating a safe haven where students are free to be who they are and who they want to become. Through performing arts: acting, dance, voice, spoken word, yoga and the new addition of a state of the art media production studio, students are encouraged to find their voice, tell their stories and discover their future. 

Like HCHC, AGC is much more than just brick, lumber and mortar. It is comprised of all of the necessary elements that inspire to create moments that take your breath away.  AGC’s dream is to create a state of the art, 99 seat theater where students can perform, produce, and create original content, while simultaneously designing the sets, costumes, lighting, and sound that give rise to a profound generation of creatives the world has yet to see. The space will be a home for artists and creatives to live, thrive and help to inspire a world of possibilities, a place for them to call home.

Sha’Leah Nikole (pictured here) is an NAACP award-winning actress, singer and songwriter who performed the song, “Home” for the ground-breaking ceremony. She is an alumnae and current instructor for Amazing Grace Conservatory, she shares “the words of Home are a true reflection of how I feel about Amazing Grace Conservatory. It has become a safe haven for thousands of young people and it will always be home for me. “ IG @Shaleah Nikole 


For the past 24 years, the Central Avenue Jazz Festival has been the go to event for Jazz Lovers, many of whom traveled from  long distances to attend.

Thousands of people came out this year to enjoy live performances, art displays, shopping, food and a resource fair where people were able to learn about health & wellness, employment opportunities and community involvement.

HCHC joined in the festivities by giving community members an opportunity to vote on images of famed architect Paul Williams and ‘Jazz Queen’ Florence Mills. The winning images will become murals at Florence Mills Apartments, which is scheduled to be completed in the Summer of 2020.

It is an honor for us to pay homage to such remarkable trailblazers who each in their respective fields, broke down barriers, built their community up and left a legacy behind that will forever be etched in the history of the Central Ave Corridor.


Pictured here (Left Photo): Siobhan Harden, Store Manager, Home Depot (Right Photo) Los Angeles City Councilman Curren D. Price Jr., Siobhan Harden, Store Manager, Home Depot and Jerry Neuman, HCHC Board President

Thank you to the Home Depot Foundation for supporting the Florence Mills Apartments project,  which will include units for veterans. The support you have shown for our service members who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms, opens up the possibilities for them to continue to make positive impacts on the community.