Thursday, March 31, 2005

City Hall Update: Housing

The winter rains made this year the second-wettest in L.A. weather's recorded history, causing loss of life in some instances. Many homes were damaged in CD13, and more than eighty were red-tagged citywide. I set up an emergency fund of $500,000 to assist property owners and tenants who were forced from their homes due to structural problems caused by the rains. The Housing department is administering the fund, primarily as zero-interest loans. Contact L.A.H.D. via 3-1-1 if you or someone you know still needs emergency relocation assistance.

Gentrification can be a double-edged sword, improving neighborhoods but forcing out those who should benefit from improvements. The Major Rehabilitation Ordinance passed by the council in February allows for property improvements but, crucially, protects against evictions. An outdated policy allowed some unscrupulous landlords to take advantage of a loophole allowing the eviction of a tenant from a rent-stabilized apartment for major systems work such as plumbing or wiring. Under the new policy, there can be no more such evictions. Landlords may recoup investments they make to improve property with a rent increase of up to 10% over two years. The increase must be justified by the investment into the property, and the tenant must be accomodated while the work is done.

Ready to hit the streets and count.

Ready to hit the streets and count.

More than 1100 homeless men and women participated in February's Homeless Census, the largest mobilization of homeless people for a street enumeration ever. While the results of the census will not be known until June, the census was a massive effort that will be vital to shaping policy around homelessness in the years ahead.