In a stimulating exploration of housing during our February meeting, LASA had the remarkable opportunity to meet with Maria Cabildo, the President of the East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC) and a member of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission. A relentless advocate for economic and social justice for low and moderate-income residents of Boyle Heights, ELACC has, since its founding in 1995, built more than 1000 units of affordable housing in the Boyle Heights neighborhood. Maria provided an overview of the severe challenges in the local and regional housing market, and then walked the LASA students and teachers through the arduous process that ELACC faces in bringing a project to fruition– site identification and planning, fundraising, the leveraging of tax credits, and design and construction, among others.
After meeting with Maria at the Huntington Library, LASA travelled to Boyle Heights for a first-hand look at a current ELACC project, Sol y Luna. Donning hard hats, our group was led through the nearly 70,000 square foot construction site by Alejandro Martinez, ELACC’s Vice President of Real Estate and Asset Management. When it opens in the summer of 2014, Sol y Luna will provide more than fifty units of one, two, and three-bedroom housing to hundreds of residents.
From Boyle Heights, LASA made the short trip to Eagle Rock, where our undergraduate interns—Laura Ramsay, Alex Stein, and Kate Correll-Buss—gave tours of Occidental College.