AHF: SoCal Flower Market Project Skirts Truly Low-income Housing Units

In News by Ged Kenslea

In another loss for truly affordable housing, L.A. City Council approves the Southern California Flower Market project, a 12-story, 323-unit luxury housing and retail development in Downtown L.A.


Last spring, AHF sued to block the project, which initially had NO housing units for low-income people, over environmental issues raised by the fast-tracked development


LOS ANGELES (January 20, 2021) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) expressed its disappointment over a recent approval by the Los Angeles City Council of a 12-story, 323-unit mixed-use, luxury development at the site of the Southern California Flower Market in Downtown Los Angeles. The project will be harsh on the natural environment.  The project—which initially was environmentally deficient and provided no units of housing for lower-income people even though it is located blocks from ground zero on Skid Row—was amended and approved by the City Council as of December 3, 2021. Thirty-two apartments will be made available to those making $60,000 to $91,000 per year—what city officials deem “moderate-income” but what AHF says hardly qualifies as low-income or truly affordable in Los Angeles today.


Last June, a judge halted the Flower Market development over environmental issues raised by AHF. The judge decertified the Environmental Impact Report for the project, enjoining the City (and the developer) from further action unless or until California Environmental Quality Act deficiencies were corrected and approved. The City made cosmetic environmental changes, which the City then rubberstamped.  These “changes” do not go far enough to fix the environmental problems with the project, and AHF is again challenging this in court.


“Not only about environmental issues here, AHF also has deep concerns about homelessness in L.A. and the lack of truly affordable housing, particularly in and around downtown Los Angeles and near Skid Row,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AHF. “These newly designated ‘moderate-income’ apartments are a far cry from low-income and NOT an answer in any way to homelessness or the housing needs for people who live and work in the area. Most low-income workers in the neighborhood—essential workers like grocery store workers, retail clerks, wait staff, hotel workers, and caregivers—simply do not make enough to qualify for what the Flower Market and City Hall deem affordable or ‘moderate.’”


Over the past four years, AHF and its Healthy Housing Foundation (HHF) have purchased, refurbished, and repurposed 12 buildings with 1,204 affordable housing units throughout Greater Los Angeles. On Sunday, HHF broke ground on a new 216-unit modular housing complex at 7th Street and San Julian in the heart of Skid Row.


AHF remains 100% pro development—the kind of development that is environmentally benign and that low-income people can afford.


“Extremely-low-income people are disproportionally people of color. We absolutely must provide for these populations in any and all housing projects being approved by the City and constructed today,” added Susie Shannon, Policy Director for AHF’s Housing Is A Human Right.


“Given some of their public comments, backers of the Flower Market project clearly do not understand what we want of their and ALL new developments:  mandatory inclusion of truly affordable low-income units. And as for some of their name-calling, I am proud of AHF’s record as a housing provider and advocate for extremely-low-income and formerly homeless individuals,” added AHF’s Weinstein.






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