Housing Project Residents Stage Protest

More than 40 residents of the Pico-Aliso housing project in Boyle Heights staged a demonstration Friday in front of the Housing Authority near MacArthur Park to protest what they view as forced displacement from their homes.

The residents of the Eastside housing development, which is being torn down and rebuilt, complained that the housing authority pressured them into signing an amendment to their lease contract that does not guarantee them a unit in the new Pico-Aliso. The new development will have about 150 fewer units.

The residents recently drafted a revised amendment that would guarantee them housing in the new buildings. However, the Pico-Aliso Residents Union contends that Don Smith, executive director of the Housing Authority, sent a letter stating that protesting residents would be permanently displaced.

“Nothing is life is guaranteed,” said Housing Authority spokesman George McQuade, who added that if residents do not get into the new Pico Aliso, they will be able to get into other public housing.


Some residents say they are sadden by the thought of leaving.

“I’ve lived here 14 years,” said Sylvia Vasquez, 23. “This is my home. People say that it’s bad, but it’s not very bad. This is my home and now they’re kicking me out.”