L.A. hits $1-billion earthquake milestone: 8,000 buildings retrofitted
The cost of retrofitting the public housing project in West L.A. after the 6.7 magnitude earthquake — which is expected to lead to savings for taxpayers of about $500 million and cut the homeless population in half — is $1 billion, according to the city of Los Angeles.
It’s a staggering figure for the city, which was once the richest in the nation and now has the dubious distinction of being one of the most expensive. Public housing units are a key to the city’s ability to balance its budget in the near future, and are a key to the city’s ability to attract people of low-income. But that doesn’t mean they have to be safe and live up to their billing, writes the Wall Street Journal’s William O’Reilly. In fact, the public housing authority’s own survey shows “the majority of residents are fearful they will be homeless in the aftermath.”
Public housing units, where the average rent is $850 a month, were made out of the rubble of the South Central L.A. riots. It is a major reason why the city has the second-highest crime rate in the United States.
The good news is this: The majority of residents are eager to take on the challenge of rebuilding the neighborhoods where they once lived. According to a survey by the Los Angeles Housing Services Corporation, a nonprofit advocacy group, 70 percent of the L.A. Housing Authority’s residents want to live in the neighborhoods and 44 percent said they would be able to “build their quality of life back to where it was.”
An overwhelming 95 percent of L.A. residents surveyed said they want to work in the communities of the South and West L.A., so it will not be as if they are suddenly going to walk away from the city.
L.A.’s public housing buildings were built as part of the Great Depression-era L.A. Works projects with federal tax subsidies.