Fighting for the Right to Stay

October 11, 2012 by Admin

Sergio testifying at City Hall regarding USC’s 20-year expansion plan and the need for increased affordable housing in the neighborhood.

In the shadows of the multi-story, privately-owned, USC student housing developments, where the breeze of the newly-opened Exposition rail line blows every 10-minutes, Sergio Barrientos and his family sit in the kitchen of their small, one-bedroom apartment exchanging worried looks and hushed conversations.

For the past 15 years, Sergio and his family have demanded that the landlord fix the dilapidated conditions in their apartment, but the owner, who charges the family over $600 a month, refuses.

Currently, there is no hot water in Sergio’s kitchen, the carpet is old and ripped, the paint is chipping, and Sergio and his family had to pay out-of-pocket to replace their broken refrigerator.

But now Sergio’s building may finally receive the attention and repairs that tenants have demanded for years. Unfortunately, Sergio’s family and the 17 other low-income families in the building may all be kicked out before that happens.

A wealthy real-estate developer recently purchased Sergio’s building and intends to demolish the nearly 100-year-old apartment complex and build 90 higher-rent units exclusively marketed to USC students.

The developer has offered to pay the tenants relocation assistance, but for Sergio and the other 17 families in the building, no amount of money can convince them to leave their community, pull their children out of school, and find new jobs elsewhere.

They want to stay in their homes and they are organizing and fighting together to make sure they can do so.

Take action today and find out how you can stand in solidarity with Sergio and the hundreds of other families in South Los Angeles who are fighting for their right to stay in their communities.