Senior citizens protest against rent increase at affordable housing complex in Boyle Heights

BOYLE HEIGHTS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- On Wednesday, activists and senior tenants from Coronel Village - an affordable housing complex for seniors - demonstrated outside their building, saying they're fighting back against rent increases of what they say are 30 to 60 percent. And they are asking the owner to meet with them.

"He is trying to displace us and it's not fair. And, he has no compassion, only for the dollar," said Cristina Cologne, a senior tenant at Coronel Village.

Albert Otero said he is one of the owners of the building. Otero talked to ABC7 over the phone said his rent increases are not as high as what tenants are claiming; not 40 to 60 percent.



Otero also said the rent increase is what the state allows, but that it may seem higher because they haven't raised it for about two years - partly due to the pandemic.

"Mr. Albert Otero gets tax credits. He is an affordable housing developer," said Fernando Ramirez, a community activist at the demonstration. "Even though if he could do this it's still immoral. It's not right."

Cologne said her rent went up from $1013 to $1545, that's almost all of her and her daughter's income put together for the month.

"He just wants us to pay a huge rent which he knows very well we won't be able to pay it and it's not fair," said Cologne. "It leaves us $200 for food for the whole month."

Otero said he's tried working with some of the unhappy tenants and offered to move them into more affordable units. He also said he plans to meet with the tenants in October and pledged to work with them and pay the difference in rent tenants can't pay for a year.

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