Over the past 15 years, Downtown Los Angeles has undergone monumental change and redevelopment due to increased private investment. However, this economic development has largely benefited large developers and targeted new, high-income consumers. Business associations and some new residents have increasingly pressured the City to remove homeless and poor people from most public spaces in Downtown, which has resulted in increased harassment and the criminalization of homeless and extremely low-income residents.
While substantial gentrification has occurred as a result of these efforts, low-income residents have organized and resisted gentrification – resulting in many policies and outcomes that have promoted equitable redevelopment of Downtown. The opportunity still exists for Downtown LA to be accessible to all long-term and new residents and promote community health and safety for everyone.
The Share the Wealth Campaign was developed as a strategic alliance between community partners and residents working together to ensure that everyone in Downtown LA benefits from policies and investments – instead of benefiting only the newer, richer residents and businesses at the expense of long-time low-income residents and small businesses.
Share the Wealth principles promote community health for everyone. A healthy community includes long-term housing stability without fear of displacement; healthy conditions within and around homes and living spaces; access to park space, grocery stores and fresh foods, health and mental health care, and other health-promoting resources; freedom from fear of police and other institutions, and strong neighborhood social ties reflected by participation in community organizing and other clubs, activities and events. Share the Wealth principles could ensure Downtown LA becomes a healthy community for long-term low-income residents, newer residents, and other stakeholders.
Our platform is based on the following principles:
No one should be forced out of their own community, especially low-income tenants and homeless residents with few, if any, other options. Social services and low-income community-serving businesses should also be protected against displacement.
Increase Affordable Housing
Downtown LA desperately needs more affordable housing, especially for homeless and other extremely low-income people. The City of LA is facing a housing and homelessness crisis, and every community needs and deserves far more low-income housing.
Create Employment and Wealth-Building Opportunities for those Most in Need
Low-income residents should have priority access to jobs and other economic opportunities created in Downtown LA. This includes, but is not limited to, local hiring obligations on businesses and developers, increased access for small vendor/small business, street vending areas free from police harassment, and resident-led street cleaning initiatives.
Increase Green Space, including Parks and Community Gardens, and Ensure it is Accessible to Everyone
Existing park and other public green space must be accessible to everyone, free from police harassment, and secured for the long-term. Gladys and San Julian Parks must be re-funded and protected from closure. Park, community garden and other green space should be greatly expanded. Clean and safe restrooms should be included in parks and public spaces, and be accessible “24-7″.
Prevent Criminalization of Poverty
Since 2006, the Safer Cities Initiative and other punitive polices by LAPD and Business Improvement District security have unfairly criminalized homeless residents, other extremely low-income residents and people of color, street vendors, and low-income visitors to Downtown LA. The Safer Cities Initiative and other supposed “quality of life” policing and security initiatives must end.
Ensure Accessible, Affordable and Effective Public Transportation
Although most of the recent public transportation plans and transit-oriented development initiatives focused on rail development, market rate housing near transit, and moving those who use cars onto transit, low-income people remain the large majority of transit riders in Los Angeles. Low-income and other regular transit riders must be the priority and future plans and projects should reflect their priorities and needs.
Increase Civic Participation
All formal and informal decision-making bodies affecting Downtown LA must be accessible and transparent to the public, not require dues, and consist of an equal balance of higher-income and low-income stakeholders.
Click HERE to view and download a One-Pager on the Share the Wealth Campaign.