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Council takes looks at South LA gentrification

Neighborhood Stabilization Program

Cory Alexander Haywood OW contributor | 3/8/2018, midnight

Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, joined by Council President Herb Wesson and Councilmember Curren Price, has introduced a motion to study the feasibility of a Neighborhood Stabilization Program to address the displacement of poor and working families and small businesses in South Los Angeles. The motion cites a recent development boom and the disproportionate impact of the affordable housing crisis on Black residents as significant threats to the stability of South Los Angeles neighborhoods.

 “South Los Angeles is one of the last affordable communities in LA, with the largest concentrations of African Americans in the city,” Harris-Dawson said. “Prices are far outpacing incomes and we still have a painfully high unemployment rate, we need to act now.”   

 The motion calls out the devastating and institutional challenges that South Los Angeles faces as destabilizing forces that makes residents from South Los Angeles particularly vulnerable to displacement and gentrification. These include high unemployment, stagnant wages, vacant properties, historic redlining, foreclosures, and predatory lending while rents and home prices continuously outpace wages.

 “Our city is only as strong as each of its neighborhoods,” Wesson said. “Only by being proactive will we have a chance at protecting Angelenos and preserving the economic and cultural vibrancy of South L.A.”

 Twenty-five years after the LA civil unrest, South Los Angeles is poised to undergo new levels of economic development across the region. However, the councilmembers are concerned that current residents may not see the benefits of that investment without a “Neighborhood Stabilization” plan.

 “It’s time the city take a long, hard look at policies and mechanisms that help working-class families hit hardest by the housing affordability crisis,” Price commented. “South LA residents are already burdened by economic hardships, high unemployment rates and disproportionate disparities across the spectrum. They shouldn’t have to worry about gentrification and displacement on top of every day challenges.”

 The motion focuses on residential displacement and calls on the city to study how to protect small businesses, churches, and community organizations for potential stabilization policies, to address South Los Angeles holistically.