Over 50 Community Leaders Launch Groundbreaking Campaign to “Build Better LA”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2016

Contact: Gabriella Landeros, 213-446-8801, gabriella@launionaflcio•org
Mariana Huerta Jones, 323-747-0699
mhuerta@allianceforcommunitytransit•org

Initiative to Increase Creation of Jobs and Affordable Housing Units

Los Angeles, CA – Today, over 50 community leaders attended the launch of Build Better LA, an initiative created by a first-of-its-kind coalition of labor and affordable housing advocates, to ensure that affordable housing and good jobs are part of sustainable development in the City of Los Angeles. Specifically, Build Better LA includes a local hire provision that ensures a living wage with good job standards and if a project has residential units, it must provide a percentage to low-income residents. The City currently aims to produce about 500 units of affordable housing annually, but with the initiative, the City would have the potential to increase the number of affordable housing units and job opportunities.

During the press conference, speakers highlighted that we must address the affordable housing and good jobs crisis through a bold plan that aligns the City’s land use policies and funding to build more housing and create more jobs.

“The initiative establishes favorable conditions for General Plan amendments that provide local jobs and affordable housing. It simply says, developers who build affordable housing will move quicker…as long as they hire local people,” said Rusty Hicks, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and convener of Build Better LA. “It is through this initiative that Los Angeles will be able to close the gap on the affordable housing and good-job shortage.”

“We know LA residents have a different vision for Los Angeles – one where the diverse communities that make this City strong are thriving, one where students can afford to live in the City and don’t have to sit in two hours of traffic to get to class, one where our children can breathe clean air and live in uncrowded homes. This is the future we want to create with the voters of Los Angeles in November,” said Laura Raymond, Campaign Director for Alliance for Community Transit- Los Angeles and member of the Build Better LA Coalition.

“When the City of LA approves a new building, we want it built by the people who live and pay taxes here. By your neighbors. By your community. By the men and women who go to school right here,” said Ron Miller, Executive Secretary of the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council and member of the Build Better LA Coalition. “Build Better LA will help us open a pipeline for jobs and housing. It will bring more jobs to the neighborhoods of Los Angeles, and more housing to those in need. It builds a better City.”

“Without equity in City planning, transit investments deepen inequality. Without affordable housing and good jobs, workers in low-wage industries and their families-who are also often transit-dependent-are forced out of their homes and neighborhoods, while car use increases and climate change worsens. Build Better LA charts a path forward for our City by uniting key parts of our labor and housing movements. Together, we are bringing development in alignment with affordable housing and good jobs. As a worker center that is also deeply committed to housing justice, this is a very special moment for KIWA. We are joyful to be moving forward on this together with our partners in the Alliance for Community Transit (ACT-LA) and the LA County Federation of Labor,” said Alexandra Suh, Executive Director of the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance and member of the Build Better LA Coalition.

“The Build Better LA initiative creates a path that ensures development homes at all income ranges throughout the City by providing certainty for developers who want to develop vibrant and diverse communities,” said Alan Greenlee, Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing (SCANPH) and member of the Build Better LA Coalition.

To accommodate the City’s rapid growth, this initiative will ensure that transit-oriented communities have access to development projects with quality jobs, livable wages, and affordable housing that residents can actually afford.

“This will greatly benefit the community. It will let everyone know that these opportunities are available for people like myself. It will create a better life style for middle-class people,” said Alton Wilkerson, journeyman with IBEW Local 11 and South LA resident.

“Thanks to the opportunity to live in affordable housing, I was able to leave one of my jobs and spend more time with my son with special needs,” said Angella Gaines, local resident and member of Alliance for Community Transit Los Angeles.

“I am supporting Build Better LA because it will help prevent displacement of hard working families from their communities. We have to do something to end families living in their cars,” said Martha Sanchez, local resident and member of Alliance for Community Transit Los Angeles.

Through one signature and one voter at a time, the coalition looks forward to partnering with housing advocates, neighborhood leaders, and responsible business leaders to do what none of us can do alone.

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Build Better LA is a coalition of business, labor, affordable housing, and community leaders working to ensure LA’s growing demographic has access to affordable housing and quality jobs.

http://buildbetterla.org/

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