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What happened to this project

Downtown train station, 5th and San Pedro streets, 1895. (courtesy of Skid Row journal)

Downtown train station, 5th and San Pedro streets, 1895. (courtesy of Skid Row journal)

I found myself in a hot conversation yesterday over the gentrification of Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA).  A woman posted a picture of homeless people sleeping on the streets of DTLA with the caption “when gentrification is bad for your neighborhood”.

In short, gentrification is the displacement of poor people by recreating the environment which ultimatelyl pushes the current occupants out since they can no longer afford to live there.  This led to discussions of Hope VI projects, which were federal grants that allowed the revitalization of distressed public housing units.  It is key to note that many projects are located along prime real estate.  Adjacent to the rail line.  Guess what, white flight is heading back to the ghetto.

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Historically, Skid Row was the key entry point into DTLA.  As a result, many stayed in that area of town to have a place to live while they searched for work.  If you notice most of the buildings beyond Broadway all have signage that faces eastward.  This was done so as the migrant workers got off the train, they would know where to go for housing.  As the area evolved from agricultural to industrial, the people living in Skid Row began to develop mental health issues and drinking problems due to their inability to find work and affordable rent.

Pueblo del Sol (photo by Baron Salazar)

Pueblo del Sol (photo by Baron Salazar)

As many of the projects, that typically housed displaced persons started to deteriorate, HUD created the Hope VI program, which replaced aging buildings.  A good example of a Hope VI project is Pueblo del Sol, formerly known as Aliso Village.  The projects were torn down and replaced with housing (low-income, section 8 and market rate homes), two schools, community center, soccer field and the Red Line in its backyard.  Families receiving section 8 are required to perform community service as a condition for living there.  Keeps them vested in keeping the community looking nice.   Jordan Downs is next. So what happens to the people?

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Skid Row isn’t big enough to accommodate everyone so one man stepped forward and had big plans to bring a multimillion dollar complex, in the heart of Skid Row, which would have housing, medical and mental health services to support the homeless and displaced.  The proposed location.  600 Wall St.  Yes, the individual bought the entire BLOCK, from 5th to 6th St’s and Wall St., back in 2007-8.

So 2UrbanGirls is wondering when will the state of the art Donald T. Sterling Homeless Center, actually open?  Maybe he can ask USC Trustees what to do.  They bought the former gas station at Exposition and Figueroa and had it fully developed, erected and occupied within two years.

 


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About Melissa

I am a lifelong Inglewood resident living in District 4. I serve on PTA and School Site Council as Vice-President, for the last 8 years with Inglewood Unified School District. I volunteer on the Wellness Committee for ICEF Public Schools. I am an alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science. You can find me on Twitter under @CreoleMommie

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