LOS ANGELES — Like the Southern California weather, the movement for affordable housing is heating up.
At a press conference in the Olympic Park neighborhood here, housing activists gathered with tenants outside of the residence of Thelma Meredith. Meredith, 88, has lived in the same apartment for 42 years. Now she is being evicted from her home. Her only income is Social Security.
The new owners of the property want to evict everyone, tear down the place and replace it with luxury condominiums that only the richest people can afford, tenants say.
All over the area, from Koreatown to Mid-Wilshire to Hollywood, the same scenario repeats itself. Rich developers are creating a housing crisis by buying up affordable units and converting them into luxury condominiums. They not only change the character and charm of these old neighborhoods, but also displace longtime residents who have nowhere to go in their “golden” years.
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) housing chair Alvivon Hurd is, by all accounts, a determined woman who won’t just sit and watch when people are thrown out of their homes.
“Look around,” she said, “poor and moderate-income people are losing their homes.” It’s not just an issue for Black people and immigrants, she said. “Rich developers are moving into communities all around L.A. County, demolishing family residences and constructing high-rent luxury condominiums.”
Some 11,000 affordable housing units have been lost in the city alone. The city is not replacing them, so ACORN is working with the tenants to stop evictions and with the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing to force the city to develop more affordable housing.