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 targeted new, high-income consumers – with new residents and businesses increasingly pressuring the city to alleviate homelessness in the area, 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. There is still the opportunity 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 developed as a strategic alliance between community partners and residents working together to ensure that everyone in downtown benefits from policies and investments – instead of benefitting 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 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 becomes a healthy community for long-term low-income residents, newer residents, and other stakeholders.
Our platform is based on the following principles: (CHANGE INTO INFO GRAPHIC)
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. All of the City is facing a housing and homelessness crisis, and every community 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 small vendor/small business access, 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 Park must be re-funded and protected from closure. Park, community garden and other green space should also be greatly expanded. Clean and safe restrooms should also 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 BIDs have unfairly criminalized homeless residents, other extremely low-income residents and people of color, street vendors, and low-income visitors to Downtown. The Safer Cities Initiative and other supposed “quality of life” policing and security initiatives must end.
Ensure Accessible, Affordable and Effective Public Transportation
While most of the recent public transportation plans and transit-oriented development initiatives focus 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 a priority and plans and new projects should reflect their priorities and needs.
Increase Civic Participation
All formal and informal decision making bodies in Downtown should be transparent and accessible, not require dues, and have an equal balance of higher-income and low-incomestakeholders.
Click HERE to view and download a One-Pager on the STW Campaign.