For South LA the Community Care Facilities Ordinance is Housing Apartheid
- 17 Jul 2012
- Written by Janet Denise Kelly
URBAN PERSPECTIVE - I had made promises all over that I would not write another article about the Community Care Facilities Ordinance. Sorry! I can’t make good on this promise because it is one of the most important ordinances that will affect South Los Angeles and people of color communities.
South LA has been through a lot this past year. We’ve had to fight injustices in transportation with the Crenshaw line. We’ve had to suffer from the redlining of Council District 8 and 9 from economic assets. Sadly, we’ve had even more people become poorer and marginalized from employment opportunities. Now, we are battling housing apartheid.
This ordinance is once again bad housing policy, especially for South LA where there are high concentrations of homelessness, people exiting incarceration and child welfare institutions, veterans, and seniors. It’s a potential segregation system instrument for housing containment.
We are all too familiar with the ghettoizing of our community through land use and zoning. With this ordinance, there is the possibility of steering vulnerable populations who need shared housing to R3 and R4 zones. By doing so, this may cause de facto concentrations of poverty and limited social and economic diversity.
What will this mean? It will mean concentrated poverty in R3 and above zones and neighborhood breakdown in economically volatile communities. There will be no equal employment or educational opportunities. Those areas will be subordinated to low purchasing power which will send messages to potential outside markets about investing. And, there will be decreased demand causing disinvestment to ensue.
Is this Apartheid? Yes it is because this ordinance is saying that vulnerable populations don’t belong in R1 and R2 zones with intentions of placing them elsewhere.
There is no hope in concentrated poverty. The best way to avert it is by immersing vulnerable populations in economically diverse neighborhoods. They get to model good neighbor citizenry and experience a better quality of life.
The fact that this ordinance has polarized neighborhood councils and block clubs shows how problematic it is. Agreeably, we want neighborhoods free of nuisance homes, but can’t agree on the best way to do it.
For those who think their neighborhoods are on the “tipping” point and see the Community Care Facilities Ordinance as a better than nothing solution to improve neighborhood quality, it is not. Much has already been written about it to demonstrate why. What you should know is that it doesn’t bring accountability or nuisance abatement enforcement that we need.
Think about it. How difficult is it to get a stay away order for prostitution in front of a school? What about shutting down problem liquor stores or pulling their licenses? Don’t forget the sleazy motels that allow human trafficking or sexual exploitation of youth. Or landlords of commercial buildings who have unruly parties that result in violence. It’s hard to get the city or our local officials to do something.
There is one permeating theme as it relates to the Community Care Facilities Ordinance. That is how to get Building and Safety or other city enforcement departments to do their job of abating nuisances.
How can we receive a complaint acknowledgement and streamlined process for abatement? Who will be responsible and how long will it take? What will be the abatement outcome? And so on.
As the saying goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” For the Community Care Facilities Ordinance, I hope housing apartheid isn’t the hell of it.
(Janet Denise Kelly is a CityWatch featured contributor. She offers more than a decade of accomplishments in the housing and nonprofit sector. Janet brings valuable insight in the areas of community and economic development. Additionally, she brings knowledge regarding the leadership and management challenges faced by large and small nonprofits that are struggling or growing organizations. She blogs at jdkellyenterprises.org and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org) –cw
Vol 10 Issue 57
Pub: July 17, 2012