The 7th & Witmer Apartments is a 76-unit, permanent supportive housing development for chronically homeless individuals. Located in downtown Los Angeles, this six-story, mixed-use building features ground-floor retail space including a bikeshare station. Located two miles (3.2 km) from Skid Row, this project provides critically needed housing, but it is also part of a larger effort to improve mobility along the 7th Street corridor.
The building is composed of three residential “blocks” connected by open-air balconies surrounding a central courtyard. The units are designed to have the front doors and living rooms facing the courtyard, with the more private spaces on the exterior side. This allows for many benefits: natural light from two sides, cross-ventilation, and encouraging a sense of community among neighbors.
The ground floor of this building features offices for supportive services. It also has a large mail room, a laundry room with lounge space, a pantry stocked with necessities (e.g., toiletries for the chronically homeless residents), and a large community room with a kitchen and mural. In recognition of the difficulty and sensitivity to which the residents are transitioning out of homelessness and into permanent supportive housing, this building was designed to provide a comfortable, warm, familiar, and happy environment. The mural itself is a colorful interpretation of the City of Angels and its web of streets, freeways, and neighborhoods.
The first residential floor features two courtyards: one at the corner of the building looks out toward downtown and features built-in stadium seating for community events, and the other courtyard lies in the center and has lush plantings with built-in benches for a quieter gathering space. The roof comprises four community spaces—two lounge areas, an outdoor fitness area, and raised garden beds for the residents.
In addition, the building has many sustainability features, including a graywater system that uses both stormwater and graywater to supply toilets and for irrigation, saving about 360,000 gallons (1.4 million liters) per year.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Developer: Deep Green Housing and Community Development
Owner: 7th and Witmer LP
Partners: City of Los Angeles, Hatch Colasuonno + Relativity Architects, and Walton Construction Inc.