VOICES-What was important about the Mayor's speech was the recognition that we need to link the commitment to providing new affordable housing with raising the minimum wage.
For low wage earners providing one without the other is an inadequate formula. Without the wage increase one can't afford the housing, and without the affordable housing a wage increase will only go to the landlord.
The other important commitment made by the Mayor was the need to preserve existing affordable housing in addition to producing new affordable Units, as well as protecting the city's rent control law and tenant protections.
Over 13,000 rent controlled units have been lost in the City since 2001 as a result of developers using the Ellis Act to convert and demolish these units and build high-priced condominiums and apartments.
If we don't preserve the existing affordable units then no matter how many units are built they won't meet the need. We will never build our way out of our affordable housing crisis unless there is an equal commitment to preserve existing affordable housing.
The Mayor also committed to building 100,000 housing units by 2021. Most of these units need to be affordable, because it has been estimated that LA needs to have 82,000 affordable units built by 2021 in order to meet the demand for such housing.
In a City where the majority are renters and most of those renters are currently paying unaffordable rents, CES applauds the Mayor's stated commitment to ensuring that there is adequate affordable housing for the people of Los Angeles.
It is going to take this type of leadership, commitment and creativity to truly achieve real equity and economic justice in Los Angeles.
(Larry Gross is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival.)
Vol 12 Issue 89
Pub: Nov 4, 2014