In today’s environment, my family’s relocation to Los Angeles would be nearly impossible to replicate. A single parent of five, my mother moved us all across the country from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in spring of 1980. The system of services she was able to access ranged from affordable child care and housing assistance to financial aid for college, not only helping her to survive but enabling her to prosper. Sadly, today it’s difficult to imagine a similar story taking place. Public support (and funding) for this type of assistance has been reduced to almost nothing, replaced with a federal government that demonizes the poor for existing.
One of gentrification’s most damaging effects is that any emergency or setback (such as the loss of a job) can lead to homelessness for a large percentage for L.A. residents. The rising rents place a stranglehold on the economic stability of tenants by consuming over half of their monthly income. The result is a perilous existence that constricts (or often eliminates) any opportunity for the accumulation of wealth.
Throughout Hollywood it’s impossible to go a single block that doesn’t have a new luxury residence under construction. Their sleek architectural style contrasts with the dated designs of the surrounding buildings, making their presence impossible to miss. Eventually each block will be a perfectly manicured row of minimalist structures filled with people who have no recollection of the community they replaced.