Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Boyle Heights anti-gentrification crusader criticized over evictions

Existing tenants will be forced to move to make way for new affordable housing

Existing tenants of these apartments will be forced to move to make way for new affordable housing

BOYLE HEIGHTSEast 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.

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  1. ELACC isn’t anti gentrification, they are gentrification. They bring in banks and investors pushing out the poor to build “affordable housing”. They pretend to be anti-gentrification as a publicity campaign so that they can get their projects pushed through easily. The poor they push out generally can’t afford the new housing they build. I don’t have a problem with development but I do have a problem with hypocrisy. Like when Maria of ELACC blasted an individual for buying a house with a horizontal fence but here is her organization pushing out the poor to build a project backed by big corporate money.

    • Agree entirely. The hypocrisy makes my blood boil.

      They use public money, but affordable housing development is a BUSINESS, the developers make a very nice living, and they are every bit as amoral as private developers. If they have to hurt people to get a project done, well, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

      I personally have no problem with that. But don’t pretend to care about the ‘community’. ELACC likes to have it both ways, kicking out low income tenants while at the same time passing moral judgments on ‘gentrifiers’ (code word for whites).

    • I agree! I wish I could afford low income housing! They expect a family of 2 to pull in $55,000 a year!!! I’m better off looking for apartments on my own without having to pay $1,500 a month; the “bargain” price they claim will keep poor families in the area!

    • It sounds like these folks went out of their way to create a long term affordable solution and went above and beyond to compensate and include the tenants of the old housing. On a personal level it must be hard for the tenants to experience this change but it does not make the changes wrong.

      Believe it or not housing has a lifespan too. Older houses often have lots of issues. I know. I maintained an older apartment building for years. Try as I may there were always problems- plumbing, water leaks, inefficient windows. Even after restoration it was constant work and discomfort at times for the tenants.

      This project makes more and probably better housing and guarantees it stay affordable. Rent control is very limited in LA as it only applies to pre 1978 properties -exactly those that are hardest to maintain. We need new housing stock and this project is doing exactly that while being very responsible to the current tenants.

      • Indeed. “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. ” sounds pretty fair to me.

  2. Big problem with the language used here. The problem is between “affordable” housing and “low-income” housing. They are two very different prices — gee, the city considers $1,600 a month for a one-bedroom apartment to be “affordable” housing. That is not anything a low-income renter could pay. Yet both terms are included here as if synonymous. It also would be very helpful to find out how much more rent they would pay in the new building compared to what they are paying now.

  3. The rallying cry for these anti-gentrification folks seems to be “it’s not fair!”. Sounds like children. Didn’t your parents ever tell you life’s not fair?

    And “No more displacements, guarantees for all,”
    What does that mean? Everybody needs to be guaranteed that their rent will stay the same forever and they will never ever have to move?

    These complaints are just childish.

  4. This is a good thing for those complaining about the housing shortages displacing low-income families. More than three times the amount of housing at lower rental rates. Also, moving away from rent control will provide more affordable housing for more people. No one is guaranteed to rent their desired unit at their desired price which in this case is 30% of their monthly income. That’s unheard in LA or any big city anymore.

  5. I dunno, I just read the original article in Boyle Heights Beat, and it sounds to me like they’re being pretty fair with the tenants… relocation fees, providing a transparent application process to allow most of them to return (if they choose to, and are eligible), possibly cheaper rents. And they’ll be adding 35 low income units to the market that didn’t exist beforehand.

    Sounds like the 2 tenants that wouldn’t qualify make above the low income threshold, so if anything they were receiving a subsidy via rent control, that someone else probably needed more. And when they leave, they’ll be well compensated for their trouble.

    Big picture, if we want to try and stabilize market rents, and slow the inevitable gentrification of these central neighborhoods, we just need to build a whole lot of housing to soak up the demand in the market.

    And how about pushing the city to implement some kind of disincentive on real estate speculation by foreigners? Many of the cash buyers investing in property in LA don’t even live here… we’ve seen the damage that’s done in other cities (SF, NYC, London) and it ain’t pretty.

    • Yes, relocation fees for two years. I may be wrong but think that is more generous than what is required by law.

    • They are NOT being :subsidized by rent control. In fact, under rent control, every year they are paying the landlord a higher and higher level of profit. Their rents go up every year, and by a much, much higher rate than any increase in costs to the landlord. How is that a subsidy?!

      • It’s certainly debatable. For example, if someone were to purchase a property at market rate, yet they have several tenants living well below market rate via rent control, are they not in effect subsidizing those people’s rents themselves? Look at what’s happening in San Francisco (and now Santa Monica), with landlords envoking the Ellis Act to evict tenants…. housing supply is so tight in these neighborhoods that landlords are paying tenants thousands of dollars to leave, because the incentives at the end of the tunnel are so much greater.

        Meanwhile, if I rent in a newer building built in a neighborhood with several rent controlled properties, my rent still rises with the market (and lately that’s well above what rent control permits)… but if all those rent control units were returned to the general market, supply would increase bringing overall prices down for all renters.

        Now to be clear, I’m *not* saying I want to get rid of rent control. I imagine that would be very destructive to many urban communities. And anyway, local homeowners certainly receive their fair share of subsidies via Prop 13, ZIRP, mortgage tax deductions, etc.

        But I can see a compelling argument for means testing it, to try and exclude upper middle class and wealthy people from taking advantage. Housing is a complicated issue. Many landlords and developers are just plain greedy… but from what I’ve read, this organization is being quite fair.

        Just my two cents, take it or leave it.

    • Foreign and domestic speculation is a huge component to further complicating the housing market. Not to mention cheap money and near zero interest rates since 2007. The landscape has changed drastically since then. This is causing Real estate overvaluation and the feds do not recognize this because housing is not part of their inflation index.
      Letting interest rates flout to normal levels would make more sense than the “if we build it they will come” approach.

  6. White people are taking over Boyle Heights? What’s next? It’s bad enough they’re taking over Echo Park and Highland Park, now. The new Echo Park isn’t all that great, either. Overpriced restaurants, cafes, boutiques and way too many bars in the neighborhood. Not to mention the snotty white people who feel that if you’re not white, I’m better than you kind of attitude. They’re trying to be like Silverlake neighborhood but of course, never will be.

    • Sounds like you have a problem with whites and not the other way around. you should leave race out of it.

    • I’m white. You’re racist.

    • Wow, you sound like a total idiot and should probably shut your dumb trap before declaring what a neighborhood never will be.

    • It doesn’t matter what you think – and just like anyone else, you are free to think how you do, Your racism; however will not stop people from moving where they want to or from patronizing the places they chose. It is not illegal to sell your house or rent your property for as much as you can get and it never will be. If you want to “save” Boyle Heights from the much dreaded gentrification, than start talking to the property owners now. Better yet, make them sign a pledge to agree to sell only to poor Latinos and for below market value. See how far that takes you and if you can swing that miracle, then Boyle Heights deserves never to be gentrified.

    • Proper Do’s firme Hina.

    • You are RACIST!! No one race owns a neighborhood!! This is L.A.. we are a melting pot!

  7. Ha!!! Hasta ELACC tiene cola que le pisan.

  8. That location is just steps away from the Soto Gold Line station. Renters need to understand that the housing situation along that corridor, especially so close to stations, is going to totally change.

  9. Hey Delia ,
    Not very white , lol. whites, lol

  10. Hey Delia ,
    Not very white , lol. whites, lol

  11. People in this town need to be educated on the difference between rent and mortgage and what entitlements are associated with each.
    And yes, Rent control is a subsidy and part of the reason rents become less affordable. Any time the government tries to price fix, there is a consequence. Remember when Nixon tried it?


  12. Delia, your dad should have pulled out. Boyle Heights should be for everyone whether your brown, black, white, yellow, green, purple…. you get the point.

  13. Gentrification is going to happen in Boyle Heights not matter who tries to stop it. Pretty soon DTLA is going to become too expensive and people are going to figure out that they can buy a house for 1/2 the price in Boyle Heights and City Terrace. It is already starting to happen now. Here in City Terrace the house flippers have invaded this neighborhood like a pack of wild dogs. I get half a dozen mailings each month with offers to buy my house. My neighbors have all been evicted and the house next door to me is being converted back to a single family home. The people that lived there were there for 32 years and the house got sold to a flipper. It is already happening and not soon enough for me.

  14. How will we know when Boyle Heights has been fully gentrified? Will the drive-by shooters be driving cars they DIDN’T steal?

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