Members of the Hillside Villa Tenant Association camped out in front of Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’ mansion on Friday night and are planning to remain there all day on Saturday until their demands are met.
124 families at Hillside Villa in Chinatown are facing housing uncertainties after L.A.’s COVID-era eviction moratorium expired at the end of March. Tenants, some of whom are still dealing with pandemic-related income loss, are facing a 300% rent hike and an inundation of eviction notices.
“We got five three-day notices last month alone,” said Alfredo Espinoza, who has lived at Hillside Villa for over 25 years. “As the tenants and families of Hillside Villa, we stayed the night in front of the Mayor’s Mansion, and we start day two out here to show that we are not going to let the city’s inaction put us on the streets.”
Residents are imploring the Los Angeles Housing Department to follow through with their plan to appraise and make an offer on the building. A plan to do so was unveiled by L.A. Councilmember Gil Cedillo in February 2021, but so far, no action has been taken by the LAHD, and lower-income residents are worried that they will be left with no place to live if their rents are increased to market value.
“Mayor Bass is about to face the largest wave of evictions since the pandemic,” said community organizer Kris Chan.
The mayor’s office told KTLA in a statement that they have met with residents and are working alongside local councilmembers and the City Attorney to come up with a solution even though the building is privately owned.