Plan to demolish then expand Westlake affordable housing complex worries residents

WESTLAKE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A housing project in the Westlake district is set to be demolished and replaced with a new one, but many residents are against the plan.

The plan is to convert 36 bungalows into a 100-unit affordable housing complex. But the residents who live there are afraid because the bungalows are rent controlled.

Some of the residents are also undocumented. They're worried they won't be allowed to move into the new complex or even receive help relocating.

"They let me know that the people who are undocumented do not qualify as the same benefits as any citizen that live here," resident Cassandra Reyes said.

But the nonprofit developer, Adobe Communities, said that's not the case. The organization issued a written statement to Eyewitness News.

"We are working to create a comprehensive relocation package for existing tenants, who will also be allowed the first right to return once construction completes," it said, in part. "Existing tenants will not be required to show proof of citizenship in order to qualify for new housing. All tenants will be required to provide a taxpayer identification number or other form of identification."

Affordable housing advocates said the idea of tearing down the three-dozen rent-controlled units is a bad idea, even if more affordable housing takes its place.

"It is an idea that causes more pain and suffering than solutions for those that need quality housing," said Reverend Kelvin Sauls, Los Angeles Housing Services Authority commissioner.

In a tentative plan from the city of Los Angeles, the bungalows are scheduled to be demolished in about two years. Construction to last another two years for the 100 units, if there is funding.
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