As told to the Los Angeles City government August 2019.
Denial of housing services
* The intercom system unit 9 and outside the building is unusable. The intercom needs repair * Unit 9 tenants are still being denied a tandem parking stall
* The back interior stairs remain unstable and need repair as they are dangerous wobble when walking on them
COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND CAMPAIGNING
Commentary by G. Juan Johnson
I attended the July 25, 2019 meeting of the Pico Neighborhood Council Land Use Committee. There was overview and discussion of numerous housing related projects. It was a lively crowd of resident tenants and property owners making suggestions for dealing with the Los Angeles housing crises. There was a presentation from the CEO of UP(st)ART Creative Living who is set to install 48 beds in a four unit apartment building on 1200 Block of Cloverdale Avenue. It was confusing as to the legal status of the property as the CEO said it was a rent controlled building, that he is the lessee, but the installation of 48 beds will make the building presumably home sharing. Resident tenants objected to the impact the program might have on the neighborhood as regards noise and nuisance. I was particularly interested in a development proposed for 1529 South Hi Point St 90035 as I live directly across the street. Proposed is a five story building with 14 units of which two will be affordable income units. (Hardly sounds like that will solve the housing crises. What kind of money would it take to make the building 100% affordable? Or is money not the problem?). There will be 16 parking spaces underground. I objected to the project on the grounds (1) it will eliminate street parking during construction (2) it will eliminate street parking after construction, and (3) the building should be 85% affordable units. Other meeting attendees also questioned the project and its impact on the neighborhood of Hi Point between Pickford and Saturn; this street faces four or more other construction projects in various stages of development. During construction, parking will be taken up by construction crews, thus eliminating resident parking. Demolition can last until 9 pm at night.
One committee member stated that the city is now requiring all new buildings to contain a minimum of two affordable units.
TENANTS ARE IN THE MAJORITY
In 2016, the population of Los Angeles 10th District was 275,480: 24% owned their own home, 76% rented. 1,112 were homeless. 25% were Black, 49% Latino, 9% white, and 16% Asian. 23% lived below 100% of the federal poverty level, and 48% lived below 200% of the federal poverty level. There were 758 serious crimes compared to the LA County with 551 serious crimes. Tenants are in the majority; will they ever fight back?
“DEEPLY LOW INCOME”?
“…shortage of over 206,000 affordable housing units…”
It sure can take a lot of people to make a mess of the housing dilemma. No one person by themselves could screw things up so badly. One group, the California Housing Partnership, claims on its website that it trained 20,000 people on affordable housing finance and policy, accessed $1.45 billion dollars, obtained public and private financing of $18 billion, and created and processed 70,000 homes for the low income. Yet after all this work over the years, California still suffers a shortage of over 517,000 homes for the over 750,000 renter households. The City of Los Angeles alone accounts for housing needs for 50,000 homeless persons. “Between 2016-2018, production of Low Income Housing Tax Credits dropped 31 percent. Those federal tax credits are traded by investors and ultimately fund development and maintenance of affordable housing. They fund anywhere between 20 to 70 percent of development costs for all below-market rate rental properties.” https://therealdeal.com/la/2019/05/21/la-county-is-short-half-a-million-affordable-units-report/ .
Based on the California Housing Partnership affordable housing outcome report, affordable housing is designated as “deeply low income” “extremely low income” “very low income” and “low income”. (This editor wonders how “deep” is deep? If your social security is $300 per month because you hardly worked in your life, so your yearly would be 12 x $300 = $3600 per year. DAMN THAT IS SOME DEEP DEEP DEEP SHIT LOW INCOME!) The largest shortage of affordable income homes occurs in the county supervisor district (SD2) of Mark Ridley Thomas (who is running for city council to bring us more of the same) with a need for over 1,015, 812 (million) affordable homes which includes the city of Los Angeles. Conversely the total renter households for LA County totals 1,797,810.
For the moderate income renters, there is a surplus county wide of 79,545 homes. So why are building so much market rate luxury housing? To push out the middle class and poor? Surplus to me means that those units will stay vacant while those needing affordable housing continue to wait. Thus in my opinion there is no need for more market rate housing (unless developers are greedy). https://chpc.net/about-us/
APPLYING FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING TAKES TIME
Before you jump up and run down to the nearest low income housing project, remember the process is not the same as applying for a rent control or market rate housing. Units for the affordable or “income restricted” may be governed by an application lottery process, waiting list, and other application forms that could take weeks, not days. Even if you pass the application process, there may not be any current vacancies.
HOUSING SERVICES DENIED? GET SOME MONEY IN YOUR POCKET.
Many tenants in rent controlled units complain of lack of maintenance. The city of Los Angeles has determined that maintenance is a housing service. If you are denied maintenance, without a corresponding reduction in rent, you could be paying an illegal rent and entitled to a rent reduction. The city unfortunately has been accused of barely enforcing the rent control laws, so be forewarned. The bright side is that many city laws give tenants a private right of action to sue the landlord in court. So what is the value of a housing service? Let’s say your building elevator has not been working for months. This affects all tenants. Let’s say the city determines that elevator is worth $25.00 per month. That $25 will be calculated for every month you are without service. So $25 x 36 months would be $900. This would be the same amount you could sue for in court action, etc.
DFEH COMPLAINT NAMES GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOME
All tenants at 1522 Hi Point St apartments are named in a discrimination complaint filed with the state department of fair employment and housing.
SHOW ME THE MAINTENANCE
The city of Los Angeles needs to have zero tolerance for lack of housing maintenance. (GJJ JULY 28 2019)
“Parking worsens at Hi Point Faircrest Heights 90035”