Housing groups are criticizing a developer’s plan to displace dozens of residents from rent-controlled bungalows in the working-class neighborhood of Westlake to make way for a $64-million affordable housing project.
Nonprofit developer Abode Communities is seeking to build a 100-unit affordable housing project on Grand View Street, near MacArthur Park. The developer plans to demolish 36 rent-controlled apartments, where some residents pay less than $900 a month.
Abode is applying for public funds, including money from Proposition HHH, a voter-approved bond, to help pay for the new building, said Robin Hughes, chief executive of Abode Communities.
She described the development as having long-term benefits for a city grappling with rising rents and homelessness. The building would be deeded as affordable housing for the next 55 years, and in some cases, rents would be lower than what tenants now pay.
“Our overall goal is to increase the affordable housing stock in Los Angeles,” Hughes said. “We are strongly committed to work with the residents to make sure that they receive the relocation benefits that they are eligible for.
“I sympathize with the residents out there and I know there are concerns,” she added. “First and foremost, they will have the right to return to the development when it is complete.”
But at a news event Monday in front of the bungalows, community activists said some tenants may not be able to return if, for instance, their income levels disqualify them.
And if federal money is used in the development, residents who lack U.S. citizenship would be ineligible to live in the building because of federal funding requirements, activists said.
“We have a crisis of homelessness and affordability. You cannot solve that crisis by tearing down affordable housing,” said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which focuses on healthcare and housing.