Some Exposition Park residents say housing developments near USC is gentrifying area

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Friday, June 4, 2021
Expo Park residents protest housing developments near USC
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Exposition Park residents say the neighborhoods around the USC area are changing right before their eyes, and in some cases, they say the changes are forcing them out.

EXPOSITION PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Residential neighborhoods around USC look different than they did just a few years ago. Residents say that's because of companies like Tripalink, which are building housing for USC students - disrupting the makeup of Exposition Park.

Community members marched to Tripalink's office Thursday to demand a halt to all construction projects in the area. According to the group Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Tripalink is expanding at a rapid rate.

Protesters also want their councilmember, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, to put up a fight instead of working with Tripalink, and bring affordable housing to the area.

"I am so disappointed in Marqueece Harris-Dawson because he's turned his back on us," said Beverly Roberts, who lives in Exposition Park.

RELATED: 10% of people living in Los Angeles County plan to move away in the next year, USC study finds

"They not building low-income housing, so where are they going to go? The money they're offering them is not enough to buy a new house with because house prices are going up sky high, so what are they going to do," said Exposition Park resident Abdullah Muhammed.

Eyewitness News reached out to Tripalink, who did not comment on the request to halt construction but said they're committed to economical housing options.

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson said he hears residents' concerns and has "introduced a motion that directs the planning department to find viable solutions to the student housing sprawl and address the loss of affordable housing and the overconcentration of student housing near the University Park/Expo Park community."

Protesters say Tripalink claims to offer affordable units, but apartments are priced well above market rate.

Tripalink's housing complexes are marketed to mainly international USC students, but during the pandemic when international students were learning remotely, the company reportedly started listing units on Airbnb instead of offering them to the community at a fair price.

"Now we see them doing Airbnb, which is a bunch of strangers coming in and out. So, it creates a lot of danger. It's too difficult for people to park. Then, when the demolitions happen, they don't water down. There's dust everywhere," said Sergio Vargas, the lead organizer with ACCE Los Angeles.