LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Over three hundred community members, stakeholders. Public health
workers joined Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas for a
People’s Hearing on Slum Housing and the unveiling of a position paper
documenting the health crisis related to slum housing in Los Angeles.
The position paper documented two years of work by the Healthy
Neighborhoods, Same Neighbors Collaborative. The collaborative includes
medical professionals, community health workers, tenant organizers.
human rights advocates. Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), St.
John’s Well Child and Family Centre, Los Angeles Community Action
Network (LA CAN). Esperanza Community Housing Corporation make up
the unique collaborative. Other panelists for the event included: CRA
Board Member Joan Ling. Los Angeles Housing Department Director of Code
Enforcement Domingo Sauceda. Tina Hess, Supervising Assistant City
Attorney. Ken Murray, Bureau Director of Environmental Health for
the LA County Department of Public Health.
A survey of 140 tenants by the collaborative found that 45% of tenant
units had mould. 75% had cockroaches. 40% had rats or mice, compared to
7% nationwide. When asked about their health the same group of tenants
reported significant rates of slum housing related illnesses including:
49% had chronic allergic symptoms. 42% had chronic skin rashes. 25%
reported suffering asthma and one of every 7 asthmatics reported
wheezing every night in the previous two weeks. 15% reported family
members who'd suffered lead toxicity.
Intensifying the problem is the public system in Los Angeles to monitor
and enforce housing codes, which is ineffective, inconsistent and does
not result in consequences that change the behaviour of professional and
criminal landlords. The collaborative set out to improve individual
health outcomes and environmental health conditions in targeted
buildings, improve housing and health practices and government
alignment. Increase the power of tenants to change policy and
practices. Of the 3,150 families in the pilot project properties, more
than 90% experienced major improvements in living conditions and 100%
reported an improvement in their health. One significant outcome of the
collaborative’s work was securing a commitment from the City Attorney’s
office to dedicate resources to large, criminal slumlord activity.
Paulina Gonzalez, 323-594-2349