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Women’s homeless shelter to open in 1920s Hollywood landmark designed by Julia Morgan

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The Hollywood Studio Club is where stars got their start

View of Hollywood Studio Club
The building was constructed in 1926.
Floyd B. Bariscale/Flickr creative commons

The second temporary homeless shelter in Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “A Bridge Home” program is set to open next month in a landmarked building that once housed some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Equipped with 64 beds, the women-only shelter will be located on the third floor of the former Hollywood Studio Club at the intersection of Lodi Place and Lexington Avenue.

Owned by the YWCA, the Mediterranean-style building was constructed in 1926 and designed by Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan. It originally served as a dormitory-style residence for women seeking out careers in the movie business.

The Studio Club is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and its application notes that the building’s old ledger includes the names of now-legendary guests like Marilyn Monroe, Marion Davies, Rita Moreno, and even author Ayn Rand.

Following the demise of Hollywood’s studio system, the club became less appealing to aspiring actresses and eventually closed in the 1970s. Right now, the YWCA occupies the first two levels, which it uses for job training programs and a print center.

Eventually, says Garcetti’s deputy chief of staff, Matt Szabo, the YWCA will move those operations to a separate building. That will open up space for an additional 62 beds.

Hollywood Studio Club
The Studio Club seen shortly after its construction in the 1920s.
Los Angeles Public Library

In September, the first of the bridge housing centers announced by Garcetti earlier this year opened its doors to residents near the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument.

The mayor promised in April to set aside $20 million (though that amount later increased to $30 million, with further funding from the state on the way) to construct shelters in each of the city’s 15 council districts.

In the case of the Studio Club building, necessary renovations needed to make it accessible to residents with disabilities were paid for by private donors, Szabo told reporters in September. New construction was not necessary.

Another shelter is expected to open in January at a city-owned lot next to the Hollywood YMCA, and a separate facility at the Veterans Affairs campus in Brentwood is also on track to open in coming months.

At the shelters, residents will have access to beds, bathrooms, showers, and case workers able to help them find permanent housing.

But the program hasn’t been popular in some neighborhoods where shelters have been proposed. In Koreatown, officials put plans for a shelter near the Wilshire/Vermont subway station on hold after residents repeatedly held demonstrations opposing the project.

Neighbors of another proposed shelter in Venice expressed a similar level of outrage at a town hall about the project earlier this month.

Thus far, any community opposition to the Hollywood Studio Club shelter has been relatively muted.

According to Garcetti’s press secretary, Alex Comisar, residents will begin moving into the shelter on November 15.