WATTS : Redistribute Public Housing, Official Says


Calling for an end to “the inequitable distribution of public housing” in Los Angeles, Councilman Rudy Svorinich Jr. is asking the City Council to consider a motion that would require other council districts to develop more low-income housing.

The motion calls for the city’s Planning Department to submit a report outlining each district’s share of public housing, and recommends that the Housing Authority “limit the development of public housing to communities that have not fully contributed to their ‘fair share.’ ”

Svorinich’s motion came just days before families began moving into a new nine-unit public housing development in his 15th District, which includes Watts and Wilmington.


More than 65% of the city’s public housing units are in the 15th and 14th districts, which include Boyle Heights, El Sereno, Highland Park and Eagle Rock, while Districts 2 and 11, which include parts of the Valley and West Los Angeles, have less than 1%, according to Svorinich’s office.

“There is an overproliferation of public housing in certain areas of the city that (has) contributed to deterioration along with the issues such as lack of schools, city services and economic infrastructure to support these public housing developments,” Svorinich said.

Part of the problem in developing public housing in other districts is the cost of the land, said Housing Authority spokesman Marshall Kandall. All funding for new public housing comes from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, Kandall said.

“If the land is too expensive, we can’t even begin to think about (building). How can you build low-income housing on land that’s above the spending limits you are allowed (by the federal government)?” Kandall said. “And people have an attitude that they don’t want a Jordan Downs or a Nickerson Gardens in their neighborhood, but that’s not how public housing exists anymore.”

Svorinich’s motion would allow the council to provide funding to help buy land in cases where the high cost of the property could be an obstacle to developing public housing.