Residents of Expo Park affordable apartments are now unsure about redevelopment

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Residents of an affordable housing complex in Exposition Park are uncertain about the future as they are forced to leave the 48-unit development while its owners rebuild the apartments into a larger 140-unit community.

As the LA Times reports, many longtime tenants of the complex, called Rolland Curtis Gardens, worked alongside affordable housing providers Abode Communities and TRUST South LA as they purchased the property in 2012 and made plans to redevelop it.

Those plans later came under intense scrutiny as neighbors complained about a lack of market rate rentals in the new project and some policy experts argued that the development would exacerbate problems of poverty and segregation in the primarily working class, black and Latino neighborhood.

As the Times reports, residents of the Rolland Curtis apartments spoke up for the project and helped it win city approval in spite of the local resistance.

Now, however, many tenants are having trouble finding housing while the project is under construction. Making things more difficult, the owners of the complex initially planned to give residents the legal minimum of $1,375 in relocation fees, telling the Times that any additional funds could disqualify tenants for Section 8 vouchers.

Only after the Times informed them that this was not the case did the nonprofits begin offering residents larger move-out payments.

Not surprisingly, this has some tenants wondering whether they can, well, trust TRUST South LA and Abode Communities to honor an agreement giving them the right to return to the apartments once they’ve been fully rebuilt. In the meantime, they’ll have to contend with one of the most competitive rental markets in the nation.

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