“Unprecedented” Plan for Chinatown Apartment Purchase Approved by LA City Council

In a landmark decision, the Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to purchase the Hillside Villa apartment complex in Chinatown to prevent the eviction of struggling tenants. The vote was 12-0 to instruct housing officials to obtain a new appraisal for the 124-unit property and submit an offer based on the research.

Hillside Villa tenants and affordable housing advocates erupted with joy at the news. They have been pressuring the city to use its power of eminent domain to take the property from owner Thomas Botz. An attorney for Botz had to be escorted from Friday’s meeting by police officers to ensure his safety. 

The Hillside Villa was initially developed as affordable housing, but a 30-year agreement for rent caps expired a few years ago. Tenants say their rent has increased by as much as 300%. 

Some of the tenants relayed their struggles at the meeting Friday, expressing fears that they would soon be evicted and wind up on the streets. Long waiting lists have prevented them from securing Section 8 vouchers.

Councilman Gil Cedillo, who represents Chinatown, thanked his colleagues for their vote on Friday.

“In the area of preserving affordable housing, there’s no other city doing what we’re doing — not in the county, not in the state, nor in the nation. So I thank all of you for having the courage and being willing to take these risks.”

Read more at LAist.


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