Three of Esperanza members were interviewed by Francesca Ayala, a USC journalism student, and expressed their views and feelings towards gentrification in our neighborhood. The video is about how the University of Southern California’s new specific plan does not provide adequate housing to meet student demand. The University of Southern California (USC) has historically failed to meet the demand for student housing and has turned a blind eye to the displacement it has caused to the low-income families living in the neighborhood.
Esperanza welcomes development — but we want development that is inclusive of our community, not a continuation of policies that have displaced our community. Esperanza and our partners have joined with USC students to demand MORE student housing, student housing that is commensurate to the actual demand for student housing. We do not want token gestures that do not address the scale of the underlying problem. We want USC to meet its obligations to its students so they are not forced into units that previously housed families.
USC’s policy of not housing students have resulted in sky-rocketing rents and has incentivized local landlords to engage in housing discrimination. The consequence of USC ignoring — or failing to address this issue adequately — has already displaced over 40% of the families living in our neighborhood. These families are torn from their community (many who have lived here for decades), children are taken from schools, families must leave their medical service provider, and their new housing is insecure.
Community needs and student needs are perfectly aligned: we both need more quality affordable housing. Although our community has struggled against USC’s housing policies, we have always had fruitful and wonderful partnerships with USC students, such as this one with Francesca. Thank you so much Francesca for helping us to tell our stories of our struggle against displacement.