Boyle Heights Residents Document Housing Concerns for Future Mayor

Hermenegildo Ortega is being interviewed about his living situation as a renter in Boyle Heights. Kris Fortin/LAStreetsblog

The first of two town hall meetings focusing on housing, education, and employment conditions took place last Thursday at the Mendez Learning Center. The information and anecdotal stories compiled at these meetings will be presented at mayoral candidate forums before next year’s citywide elections.

Comunidades Unidas de Boyle Heights, or United Communities of Boyle Heights, is a coalition between local non-profits Inner City Struggle, Proyecto Pastoral, East Los Angeles Community Corporation, Legacy LA and Union de Vecinos. The organizers led the more than 60 Boyle Heights residents in workshops asking them about their experience with housing in the neighborhood and what they would ask the future mayor to do to improve housing.

“I get sick, I can’t pay my rent,” said Hermenegildo Ortega, a Boyle Heights resident. Ortega, whose testimonial was video recorded, said that he would hope affordable housing was created that gave the lowest of income earners the priority.

Ana Gomez, community organizer for Proyecto Pastoral, said that the coalition is trying to show how education, housing and employment all affect each other. While Proyecto Pastoral’s work doesn’t focus on housing specifically, the group participated she said because children’s education can be negatively affected if the housing conditions are poor. And one of the ways people get better housing is if they have better job opportunities.

Participants fill out interview forms at the first town hall identifying residents needs and concerns for housing in Boyle Heights. Kris Fortin/LAStreetsblog

“One person said they lived in a one bedroom apartment with six to seven people,” said Gomez.

Out of a total population of 95,000 in Boyle Heights, more than 75 percent are renters and tenants, according to the coalition. More than 30 percent also live below poverty.

The next town hall meeting on jobs and education is scheduled for November 15. The mayoral candidates forum is scheduled tentatively for January 29, said Sharis Delgadillo, an ELACC spokesperson.

 

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Finally Given a Platform, Boyle Heights Speaks Out on Metro’s Mariachi Plaza and Affordable Housing Plans

|
Accused of smirking her way through Metro’s heated community meeting on the fate of Metro-owned properties in Boyle Heights by an agitated attendee, a clearly flustered Jenna Hornstock (Metro’s Deputy Executive Officer of Countywide Planning) had had enough. “It’s hard to stand up and say, ‘We screwed up!'” she said of feeling like she had […]

Metro Postpones Approving ENA for Mariachi Plaza, Gets Blasted for Having it on Agenda in First Place

|
“Injustice. […] Lack of accountability. Lack of outreach in our community,” a frustrated Teresa Marquez, president of the Boyle Heights Stakeholders Association, told the Metro Board of Directors this morning. “Nobody’s talking to us!” She was right. Metro had apparently reneged on promises in 2012 that, “prior to seeking Metro Board approval [for a project […]

Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council Abandons Wyvernwood Decision, Removes Item From Agenda

|
Last week, the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council’s executive committee struck from tomorrow’s general board meeting agenda the action item to support the Wyvernwood redevelopment project. After issues were brought up ranging from securing a proper location, to whether or not their decision would make a difference on the project, the neighborhood council doesn’t appear likely to revisit the […]

City and Residents Debate Fate of Lot at 1st and Boyle

|
“Dots are not a very democratic way to do things.” If there was a message Boyle Heights residents wanted to send to the city regarding their community outreach process last night, that seemed to be it. They were referring to the colored stickers planners often ask residents to use to signal their planning priorities. In […]

Gentri-flyer Sets Off Social Media Storm in Boyle Heights

|
When I first saw the flyer at left pop up in my social media feeds yesterday morning, I actually thought it was a joke. Touting Boyle Heights as a “charming, historic, walkable, and bikeable neighborhood” where you could put down “as little as $40K with decent credit,” it invited Arts District neighbors to join in […]