Congresswoman Waters Commends the Residents of Her District for Forcing the Decision by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to Stop the Sale of 241 Low Income Housing Units
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, released the following statement regarding the vote against the sale of 241 public housing sites throughout South Los Angeles by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday:
"I would like to commend the residents of the 241 units of public housing who successfully fought to stay in their homes when they were faced with the threat of displacement because the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (HACoLA) proposed to sell their homes to private landlords rather than repair and maintain them as public housing."
"When I learned of HACoLA’s proposal to sell these units, I visited several of the apartment buildings and talked with residents to ensure that they were adequately informed about how this proposal would affect them. Upon seeing that many of the tenants were uninformed about the proposal, I also engaged several grassroots organizations, including the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles Human Right to Housing Collective, and Los Angeles Community Action Network, to help tenants organize and voice their concerns."
"The Board of Supervisors did not appear to be aware of what was happening with this proposal. For example, when many of the residents attended a Board of Supervisors meeting on March 24th to raise their concerns, the Board of Supervisors tabled this issue to later in the day, and the residents were not allowed to speak during the public comment period, even though the Supervisor of the district was told they were present at the meeting to voice their concerns."
"In order to elevate the concerns of the residents, I drafted letters to HACoLA, the Board of Supervisors, and the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), urging them to take action to stop all efforts to sell these public housing units. I was very concerned that if these residents were displaced, they would have difficulty finding housing elsewhere due to the current shortage of housing that is affordable and available to low-income families in Los Angeles. Homelessness has increased by 20 percent in Los Angeles since 2014, and this proposal had the potential to put more people at risk of becoming homeless."
"HACoLA tried to assure us that residents who were displaced would receive vouchers, but this was hardly reassuring, considering recent allegations by the Department of Justice that HACoLA had colluded with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster to discriminate against Section 8 voucher holders who chose to use their vouchers in those two cities. Los Angeles County was fined $2,675,000."
Congresswoman Waters added, "I am so pleased that the residents and community advocates were successful in stopping HACoLA in their tracks. It doesn’t always happen this way. Often times, the tenants of low-income housing are disregarded when these important policy decisions are being made. ‘But sometimes, the people win!’ As elected officials, we all need to be vigilant in fighting for the voices of low-income tenants to be heard by their local leaders and the leadership in Washington, D.C."
"I encourage our constituents to organize, to voice their opinion, to demand to be heard and to insist on fair and just treatment. I will always provide leadership to ensure that government not only works for the rich and the powerful, rather it also works for the low income residents, workers, the average family and the average individual."