The Unknown Costs of Affordable Housing Development in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles
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Participating in the UEPI sponsored Affordable Housing Summer Internship exposed me to the realities of housing issues in the Los Angeles area through real life experience in project development and policy research. I chose to intern within the Real Estate Department of the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) which is a non-profit that has been operating in the Boyle Heights community for over sixteen years. Through site visits, meetings, and assistance with ongoing project budgets I had the opportunity to witness the extensive process that is involved in developing affordable housing units. Correspondingly, in the last weeks of my internship I directed the initial phases of community outreach related to a future development site. In addition to these responsibilities, I was given the opportunity of conducting my own personal research regarding the restriction of affordable housing developments within 500 feet of freeways and major roadways. Research consisted of studying the health, financial and social costs associated with such stipulations for residents of Boyle Heights specifically. The results demonstrate the need for pollution reduction regulations and related housing policies to be localized in order to maximize overall air quality enhancement and community health. All of the aforementioned tasks served to greatly enhance my comprehension of the current housing market in Los Angeles, specifically how rising costs of living, increasing housing prices, and the lack of affordable developments are devastating low income families and individuals.