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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Nonprofits fear being forced out by proposed city rent hikes

It will be a decade since Central City Action Committee moved its youth center and graffiti removal team from a cramped office on Glendale Boulevard in Echo Park into a more spacious, former city fire station in Angeleno Heights. The city, which owns the old Fire Station No. 6 on Edgeware Road, charges Central City only $1 a year for the 10,000-square-foot space. But that rent might shoot up dramatically under a proposal before the City Council today that would eliminate the deeply discounted rates many non-profits now pay. It’s a proposal designed to raise cash but one that Central City Executive Director Maryanne Hayashi said her group cannot afford. “If I had to pay rent on top of [other buildings costs] -we are wiped out,” Hayashi said.

There had been discussions a few years ago to create a citywide policy regarding rents charged non profits, a move Hayashi said she supports. However, news of the proposed rent hike emerged suddenly earlier this month, catching Hayashi and other non profit tenants off guard. The move into the old fire house allowed to Central City to expand its computer lab and recreation room as well provide more storage for graffiti removal trucks, equipment and supplies, some of which had been previously stored in employees’ homes, Hayahsi said. But paying market rent on so much space is simply not built into her budget, she said.

So, Hayashi and other nonprofit leaders have lobbied for support. A spokeswoman for Councilman Ed Reyes describes the rent increase “a flawed proposal” that needs to be reworked.

” The intent of the new policy is to generate revenue,” said Monica Valencia in an email. “The problem is the attempt to do this on the backs of the non-profits that provide valuable services to our neighborhoods. We will attempt to broker a better policy that addresses revenue opportunities where appropriate, while protecting the interests of the non-profit groups that provide critical services to our community.”

Related story:
City might eliminate non-profit lease program. Echo Park Now

Photo by Kansas Sebastian/Flickr

2 comments

  1. It would be a shame to see Central City Action Committee forced out for higher rents. Surely the service/s they provide off-set the need for rental income for the city?

  2. Another brilliant proposal by our city. All of their hair-brained schemes to increase city revenue on the backs of businesses/non-profits in such hard times are just driving these groups of out existence or out of the city, which in turn, has more of a long term effect on the city. It’s unreal. You know if they do raise this rent and this group does vacate, no one’s going to move in.

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