Saving Public Housing in Athens-Westmont

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Credit: HACoLA

Hundreds of public housing tenants in South Los Angeles don’t have to worry about “For Sale” signs being posted at their rental homes and apartments.

Acting on a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Board of Supervisors voted to keep 241 public housing units, also called the South Scattered Sites, as part of the county’s affordable housing stock.

His motion also called for prioritizing homeless families and victims of domestic violence when filling vacant units.

“The bottom line is that we are in the midst of a regionwide housing crisis – this is not the time to dispose of 241 units of affordable housing anywhere in the County of Los Angeles,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.

The 241 units comprising the South Scattered Sites are on 38 different locations, and reserved for very low-income households. The Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (HACoLA) has been operating the units at a loss over the last several years because of insufficient federal funding.

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Credit: HACoLA

Recently, HACoLA considered selling the units for $32 million to a nonprofit organization or another buyer, and use the proceeds to build 126 new affordable housing units concentrated in no more than three locations.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, however, expressed concern about further shrinking the affordable housing stock in a county where the homeless population has risen 12 percent over the last two years.

His motion, approved by a 3-1 vote, called on the county CEO to find the funding needed to cover the South Scattered Sites’ $425,000 annual operating deficit, as well as the $6 million needed for repairs and renovations over the next five years. The motion also called for aggressively pursuing federal funds to reimburse those expenses.

Credit: HACoLA

Credit: HACoLA