Written by Julia Wood
We’ve all wondered what it might feel like to win the lottery. For Jimmy Hall, he no longer has to wonder. In November 2013, Jimmy came to ALA in need of housing he could afford. The rent for his studio apartment in Santa Monica had just increased again and like many seniors who receive Social Security and a small pension, he found himself struggling to make ends meet.
A native of Mississippi, Jimmy, 76, has lived in Los Angeles for 30 years; he is an actor, a writer, an artist, and most of all, a lover of life. Jimmy had an earnest desire to continue his life in Santa Monica. Thus, when the opportunity to participate in a lottery for a brand new, subsidized building on Ocean Avenue arose, ALA staff informed him of a way to do so. Just three months later, Jimmy received the call that his lottery number had been chosen from over 1,000 other applicants.
Initially, his application was rejected due to insufficient documentation, but Jimmy was steadfast in making sure he would be included. In an interview from his new apartment’s balcony on a warm and clear Santa Monica afternoon, he said, “If [the leasing company] said something was missing, I made sure to get it to them that day. Even if I felt discouraged, I kept on it.” In late February, his application was approved and he moved into his brand new, one bedroom apartment across the street from the Pacific Ocean.
Thanks to the joint efforts of Related/Santa Monica Development Company and the Community Corporation of Santa Monica, Jimmy will pay roughly 30% of his income in rent. The building, which is situated between newly constructed luxury apartments and the Rand Corporation’s offices, contains 160 units (most of which are 3 bedroom units) as well as a computer room, a playground, a community room, artists’ lofts, and office space for onsite staff. Best of all, the building is conveniently located next to Santa Monica’s new Tongva Park and the future site of the Metro Expo Line. Jimmy repeated how thrilled he was to be living in such a safe and pedestrian friendly neighborhood.
Jimmy has already been able to enjoy the numerous benefits of his building and neighborhood. When asked what he would do now that he no longer has to worry about how he will afford his rent, Jimmy smiled and said that he will “probably write another book.”
Jimmy’s current book, William Eggleston and Me, details his college experiences as a national championship football player at Ole Miss and his adventures with Eggleston who would later go on to become “The Father of Color Photography.” It is currently on sale at Amazon.com.