BOYLE HEIGHTS — East LA Community Corporation, an affordable housing developer and social justice nonprofit, has spearheaded efforts to protect low-income residents from being forced out of Boyle Heights, holding community meetings and hanging banners from its affordable housing projects that read “Stop Gentrification.” But now the same organization, known as ELACC, is being criticized for displacing a small group of Boyle Heigths tenants to make way for a new affordable housing project.
Earlier this week a protest was held in front of the buildings along First Street near Soto Street that ELACC will demolish to building Cielito Lindo, a mixed-use project with 50 apartments reserved for low-income tenants, reports Boyle Height Beat. The 15 tenants who now live in rent-controlled apartments in those building were handed eviction notices as ELACC prepares to demolish the structures.
“No more displacements, guarantees for all,” the protestors chanted in Spanish in a demonstration organized by another nonprofit, Unión de Vecinos, which represents tenants facing eviction, Boyle Heights Beat said.
ELACC is offering tenants two-years of relocation funds and says tenants will be given the opportunity to move into its new affordable housing complex when it’s completed. However, according to Boyle Heights Beat, many of the residents said they may not qualify for the new apartments and may not abe able to afford new homes once their relocation funds run out.
One tenant, Terry Navarro, told Boyle Heights Beat:
“It’s not fair that they’re trying to get us out of here. It’s our neighborhood,” said Navarro. She said tenants should not be required to qualify for the new housing. “We’ve never been late with our rent.”
While 15 tenants will be forced to leave their homes, ELACC points out that a far larger number of residents will benefit when the new apartments, which will remain affordable for at least 55 years, are completed.
“We want to encourage tenants and residents to exercise their rights and to know that we are willing to dialogue, vision, and support community residents to the best of our ability,” the organization said in a statement.