For Immediate Release:
July 29th, 2020
Maria Patiño Gutierrez email@example.com
Ralph Jean firstname.lastname@example.org, (404) 895-7004
Over 20 organizations and coalitions in South LA Sign Letter to Elected Officials “Build Affordable Homes on Former Bethune Library Site, not a Hotel”
South Los Angeles, CA—The United Neighbors in Defense Against Displacement (UNIDAD) Coalition and over 20 community organizations and coalitions serving in South Los Angeles have signed on to a public letter denouncing the City’s decision to privatize publicly owned land. The former Bethune Library site, which once served as a community center, was selected for a community developed affordable housing project in 2010. When the Community Redevelopment Agency dissolved in 2011, the affordable housing developer and TRUST SOUTH LA and UNIDAD coalition continued the decade-long campaign to establish affordable housing on the site. In 2019 city officials including Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson of Council District 8, approved an exclusive negotiating agreement between the city and a hotel developer for this publicly owned land.
“The community has been advocating for this site to remain a community use,” said Oscar Monge, Associate Director of the community land trust, TRUST SOUTH LA. When the Library relocated, our coalition worked with community members to identify needed resources in the community and housing was the number one priority for the site.” TRUST SOUTH LA and Abode Communities previously submitted a proposal that was approved by Council for affordable housing for this site, but the city then released a Request for Proposals which named the Hospitality Industry as a priority for this site.
The need to preserve public land for public good is even more important amid the public health crisis, and ensuing economic devastation faced by Los Angeles communities. The ability to stay sheltered is critical to the health of all city residents especially those from low-income communities. Council District 8 faces a critical need for affordable housing development. Approximately 40.2% of CD8 tenants are rent burdened. CD8 experienced a 76% increase in unhoused persons since 2016. At the end of 2019, less than 5,000 units of affordable housing existed in the district.
UNIDAD and organizations in South LA are calling for members of the community to sign on to our petition. The coalition wants to bring attention. During this pandemic we have learned how important and crucial housing is for our community.
UNIDAD is a coalition of residents and their organizations in South Central LA dedicated to keeping families in their homes and improving the health and economic well-being of low-income communities of color through responsible development. We recognize that structural racism linked to housing, policing, land use and employment policies have caused great harm to Black, Latino, Native, Asian, immigrant and low-income communities. UNIDAD works to reverse these harms by promoting healthy and equitable neighborhoods through planning and land use that is rooted in community.
More can be found at http://www.unidad-la.org/