Written by Youth Organizer, Angelique Hurtado (Edited by Danna Carrera & Helene Sov)
September 12, 2019
I have just recently come back from New York with SEACA (Southeast Asian Community Alliance), a youth organizing group in Chinatown, where we attended Our Neighborhoods Assembly hosted by National CAPACD. It was a multilingual conference about housing rights because there is not only a housing crisis here in LA, but also across the country. The assembly brought together national Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and allies to share strategies on how to solve the issue of gentrification, the main cause to this housing crisis.
Chinatown is experiencing gentrification where rich developers are buying property and converting them into luxury complexes. Local businesses are being replaced by franchises such as Starbucks. Due to these changes rent in the area increases to the point where locals can no longer afford to live here.
Soon, the locals will be pushed out and either have to find a new home, or live on the streets. As rent becomes increasingly expensive, more and more people are becoming poorer, greedy landlords are becoming richer, and if this keeps up there will be no more middle and lower class Chinese and other ethnic minorities in Chinatown.
We, the people of LA Chinatown, need to pass laws to create more actual affordable housing and to prevent landlords from raising the rent. In the Youth Breakout workshop we hosted, we used games and activities to communicate what we thought gentrification means. Our goal was to share strategies on how to combat gentrification and solve the housing crisis with three other youth groups from New York (MinKwon), Rhode Island (PrYSM), and Oakland (AYPAL) to build a more intergenerational movement around housing rights and justice for people across the nation.