TENANTS CELEBRATE THE RIGHT TO RETURN TO THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD!
What: Residents who live at the 2400 block of E. First Street will be celebrating the signing of a right to return agreement that addresses concerns of displacement from the Boyle Heights community.
When: Tues, Dec 1st 6:00pm
Where: 2419 E. First St. (First and Soto in Boyle Heights -90033)
Who:Tenants living in 5 buildings on the 2400 block of East First Street impacted by a proposed housing development; Union de Vecinos, a Boyle Heights based non-profit made up of a network of local Boyle Heights neighborhood committees who have been fighting against gentrification and displacement since 1996; and East LA Community Corporation, an economic and social justice organization that provides community based services designed to enable Latino residents of Boyle Heights and its adjacent areas to build brighter financial futures, address gentrification, and create more opportunity within their neighborhoods.
Why:The current tenants received a notice in August 2015 that they would have to leave their homes by Nov 30, 2015 to make way for an affordable housing development called Cielito Lindo Phase I. East LA Community Corporation, the owner of the units, originally offered a right to return document to the residents. Residents were concerned that they would not be able to meet criteria contained in the document, specifically credit history and meeting minimum income standards.
“I have lived in Boyle Heights for most of my life. Having to be forced out of my home that is across the street from the Metro, Food 4 Less, and access to my daughter’s school was scary for me especially since I am disabled” says Terry Navarro, a tenant in one of the buildings that will be demolished. “If I have to go, I want to make sure that I am guaranteed a home in the new apartments.”
“We are happy that East LA Community Corporation worked with us and the tenants to help reduce the displacement occurring in Boyle Heights.” says Elizabeth Blaney, Co-Director of Union de Vecinos, who is supporting the tenants. “The right of return agreement can be a model for other affordable housing developers to help reduce the displacement caused by the construction of new affordable housing.”
Tenants met with ELACC several times over the last several months and taking the concerns of the residents into account came up with an agreement that will guarantee them a right to return to the new development without using credit scores. The right to return will also accommodate those tenants who do not earn the minimum income levels for the development. This is of particular importance, as the majority of the tenants are very low income and will move into higher rent apartments while the development is in construction relocation funds will help provide support for the increased rent and by the time the new development is complete, they will have the opportunity to move into the new affordable housing units. This opportunity reduces permanent displaces for the tenants.
“For twenty years ELACC has been working with Boyle Heights’ low income residents on setting a model for development without displacement.” stated Isela Gracian, ELACC President “And today we celebrate another example of us working together with tenants to continue setting the example for quality affordable housing through a community-driven process for Boyle Heights.”
The event will include Spanish speakers and visuals