In November, the United to House LA (“ULA”) voter initiative will be on the ballot. I am asking all people to vote for Yes on ULA because it will create affordable housing for households earning from $10,000 – $60,000 per year.

We need more affordable housing in Los Angeles. I know this is true because there are many people who cannot pay rent even after working all day. Even when they work extra jobs or six days a week, housing costs take almost everything they make. Families live doubled-up in unsafe buildings and still, they live paycheck to paycheck.

Even tenants who can afford their rent still struggle with owners that choose to let their buildings deteriorate, which can have serious consequences on the health and wellbeing of families. Everyone deserves a safe, comfortable home with appropriate maintenance, and essential amenities, including air conditioning. Our government should protect this balanced transaction–but it is not, and people are suffering because property owners have too much power. Property owners allow their buildings to fall into disrepair to push lower income renters out and replace them with new tenants who can pay more. 

Capitalism is cruel in housing.  The entire purpose of the real estate market is to make money and it does not care that this is your home. 

Affordable housing is different. Affordable housing provides a long-term, safe, well-maintained home for people, with stable, low rents. The focus is on people and community, not greed.

ULA is a tax on rich people – it is a tax on properties worth $5M and more. With this tax, we will get approximately $850M to $1B more per year for affordable housing.  

With this money, we can build more affordable housing apartments. There will also be funding to acquire existing apartment buildings so nonprofits like ELACC can protect them as affordable housing, long-term.  This allows land trusts and non-profits to acquire buildings and protect the rents so people can stay in their homes. We can also use the funding to finally maintain the building properly. It contains funding for an attorney to help tenants who are dealing with evictions.  It contains funding for emergency assistance for renters.   

It is the beginning of a solution to change the real estate market. ULA will help create more affordable housing options, so we can breathe, so we can live in housing that is safe, and so we can begin to feel relief from the harms of capitalism in the real estate market. 


Boyle Heights Beat welcomes and encourages opinion pieces on a diverse range of topics from members of our community. Boyle Heights Beat does not necessarily support or endorse the opinions expressed by the author.

Monica Mejia

Monica Mejia is the President and CEO of the East LA Community Corporation

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