Together with other housing rights advocates, Chanchanit Martorell, Thai CDC Executive Director, stood in front of a beautiful late 1920 era building on Cherokee Avenue reminiscent of Hollywood glamour and now own by Lance Robbins who is allowing Airbnb to use the units as short term rentals, and spoke at a press conference urging more protections of long-term renters and affordable housing units in Hollywood and throughout the City of Los Angeles from Airbnb short-term rentals.
Chanchanit Martorell states, “We are a non-profit organization that was founded over twenty years ago with the primary mission of lifting people out of poverty. One of the ways we have done that is by developing affordable housing. We have developed 106 units for low and very low income seniors, individuals, and families. However, it has become increasingly difficult for non-profit developers like Thai CDC to rehab, preserve, or develop affordable housing because of the elimination of funding streams for affordable housing development. There are also not enough funds in the City’s LA Housing Trust Fund to fund significant affordable housing development. Meanwhile, renters in the City of LA are being priced out and we are seeing increasing homelessness. With the advent of short term rentals through Airbnb, many of these permanent housing units are being taken out of the housing stock causing an even greater shortage of housing and even more displacement of long term renters.
Thai CDC is located in Hollywood where there is a large population of low-income, immigrant families of many different backgrounds. While the world may know Hollywood as the home of the movie industry, locally it also happens to be a community that thousands of working-class individuals call home for their families. Unfortunately, the revival of Hollywood as a glamour capital and tourist destination has also brought an explosion of short term rentals facilitated by Airbnb. Consequently, we are seeing displacement of long term renters at a staggering rate, the rapid elimination of affordable housing, and increasing homelessness.
This is a trend that cannot be sustained without causing irreparable damage to the fiber of this thriving community. Community life, civic life, family life can only flourish when there is long-term stability in housing which is the essential staple of every community. The LA Times recently reported that in some parts of Hollywood, more than 4% of the housing stock is currently listed on Airbnb for short term rental use and this trend is not slowing down. This hemorrhaging of rental housing stock in Hollywood is a real and present danger to the welfare of thousands of individuals and families who live, work and have made Hollywood their home. For them, Hollywood is a community, not an attraction or a tourist destination. If this trend is not reversed, the consequences will be felt far beyond Hollywood. All of Los Angeles will be impacted by a rise in homelessness, by the breakdown in community and family life, and by the decline of a once vibrant neighborhood into a vacuous commercial district where a transient population of consumers has replaced a thriving population of citizens with a vested interest in their community.”
Read about it in the LA Times here.