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Uplift Inglewood lauds new effort to reduce cost of rent

Clippers announce $100 million investment in city

Isabell Rivera OW Contributor | 9/19/2019, midnight

Inglewood’s ongoing battle against gentrification may witness a positive outcome. On Sept. 10, two campaigns lead by the Uplift Inglewood Coalition resulted in two major announcements as Mayor James Butts has proposed lowering the city’s permanent annual rent cap to 3 percent. Concurrently, the Los Angeles Clippers announced a proposal for a $100-million investment in the Inglewood community, of which $75 million will reportedly be invested in affordable housing.

 For almost four years, the Uplift Inglewood Coalition has advocated for equitable development and stable housing in the city through two simultaneous campaigns—first to establish a permanent rent stabilization ordinance for the city of Inglewood, and second, to prioritize the development of affordable housing rather than the proposed Clippers Arena.

Members of the Uplift Inglewood Coalition have led a multi-year campaign for rent stabilization that resulted in a ballot initiative which amassed more than 10,000 signatures last spring. Butts stated that he would lower the proposed annual rent increase cap from 5 percent to 3 percent, acknowledging that the need to protect affordable housing is at a “crucial point” in the South LA region.

 “In the midst of booming development, skyrocketing rents and an acute shortage of affordable housing, today’s victories show that development without displacement is possible,” said Uplift Inglewood Coalition member, Dr. D’Artagnan Scorza. “We are encouraged that both the city of Inglewood and the Clippers appear to be hearing our message, recognizing the importance of housing affordability, and have taken this important step toward addressing our community’s concerns. Our efforts don’t stop here. We will continue to hold them accountable to the Inglewood community.”

 The proposed $100 million investment by the Clippers could be the largest of its kind thus far. It contains allocations of $75 million for the development of affordable housing, $5.5 million for a tenant’s rental assistance fund, $12.75 million for schools and after-school programs, $6 million for the Inglewood Public Library, and $500,000 for local nonprofits.

 The announcement came after years of community organizing and a lawsuit filed by the Uplift Inglewood Coalition which argues that land allocated for the proposed Clippers Arena project should be prioritized for affordable housing, according to California’s Surplus Land Act.

The law requires cities to give first priority to affordable housing development when selling public land. Uplift Inglewood filed the claim in June 2018 because the city did not comply with this state law before it entered into formal negotiations to sell over 22 acres of city-owned land for the development of a Clippers Arena.

“Unfortunately, the Coalition has seen promises broken before. While we are excited by the Clipper’s announcement, at this point, it’s still just a proposal,” said Katie Mckeon, an attorney with the public interest law firm Public Counsel, which represents Uplift Inglewood. “The plan must be backed by a real commitment to community-centered development for and by the people of Inglewood and enforceable agreements. Until then, we will continue our pursuit of justice and equitable development, and demand that the city abides by all affordable housing laws and protects all of its residents from displacement.”