LA passes up funding for affordable housing + LA mandates earthquake retrofitting

LA will require buildings to undergo earthquake retrofitting starting in 2016.

LA will require buildings to undergo earthquake retrofitting starting in 2016.

LA Passing Up Tens of Millions For Infrastructure and Affordable Housing: Los Angeles is missing out on important revenue by not charging developer impact fees. These fees can fund a variety of things, including LAPD, libraries, parks and affordable housing construction. (LA Curbed)

Los Angeles Will Start Requiring Earthquake Retrofits For Apartment Buildings in February: Los Angeles will require buildings to undergo earthquake retrofitting starting in 2016, but the mandate leaves concrete structures a 25 year window to complete the project. (LA Curbed)

Formerly homeless treasure affordable, dignified housing in South LA

Video by McKenna Keil

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Irvin Dixon spent the last seven years living on the streets of Los Angeles. He slept on public benches and waited in long lines to receive a meal. This week, by virtue of a collaboration of several local organizations, he has a home.

On Monday, the South L.A. Supportive Housing Program celebrated the grand opening of 56 units of permanent housing, which will give safe living for nearly 100 homeless people. For Dixon, this difference will create an immense change in his lifestyle.

“There’s nothing better to provide anybody than a sense of dignity,” Dixon said.

The units, which were formerly dilapidated but have since been renovated, are availabe to men, women, and children. The residents pay 30% of their monthly income in rent. For Dixon, that is about fifty dollars a month.

The new housing is for people who frequently use county health resources, a requirement that helps create a more efficient delivery of care and resources. Officials say it is more effective to provide people with a living arrangement instead of covering medical bills.

This article was originally published on Annenberg TV News.

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Flower Street residents continue to fight for affordable housing

Listen to an audio story from Annenberg Radio News

imageAt the intersection of 30th and Flower Street there is a McDonald’s, a used tire center, and an old motel. The hum of the 110 freeway and the Expo line are constantly in the background.

The neighborhood may not look particularly fancy now, but to developers, this area between Downtown and USC has big appeal. Residents of the apartment building at 2913 Flower Street found that out last fall when developers started asking if they would be willing to move out.

“The developer was just offering them the standard relocation and he said the company would be willing to pay a little bit above the standard relocation,” said Thelmy Perez, an organizer with the LA Human Right to Housing Collective.

A few weeks ago, she and the residents of the building sat down with Symphony Developers, a company that owns a USC student housing building on 27th and was interested in expanding more.

Nohemi Armendariz has lived with her family in the Flower Street building for 15 years.

Her message to developers was, “We are happy at this place. We don’t want to move because it is not fair that they want to make the apartment only for the students. That is not fair. We have lived here for a long time.”

Symphony Developers did not wish to comment, but told ARN that they are no longer pursuing the Flower Street building.

But Perez said, “This issue is much larger than just this one building.”

imageThat’s why she and the building’s residents sought the support of one of their most influential neighbors. City Councilwoman Jan Perry’s office for her now-dormant mayoral campaign was just a few doors down from the apartment. 

“There is plenty of opportunity of non residential empty commercial buildings that could be acquired,” said Perry.

Perry came out to support the building’s residents at a news conference on Thursday. She will end her term on City Council in June and says her successor will have to pay attention to affordable housing.

“That person will have to protect the interests of people like the ones who live in this building,” she said.

It will also be up to the next mayor to protect rent stabilization in Los Angeles. Perez says as the mayor’s race continues, she hopes affordable housing will become a debate issue.

”None of the candidates, at least for mayor, have a plan for housing,” Perez said. “We are in dire need of affordable housing in the city of Los Angeles and we can’t afford to lose any more rent stabilized affordable units in this city.”

Residents of the 33-unit Flower Street building pay between $700 and $800 a month for small studio apartments. If forced to move, Perez said many would have to leave the neighborhood to find comparable rent prices. That’s why, as election season continues in Los Angeles, they’ll look for candidates who will help them stay in their community.