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Activists Protest Construction Of 33-Tower High Rise In Fashion District

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A controversial residential tower set for the intersection of 7th Street and Maple Avenue was approved by the City Planning Commission this week, prompting a group of anti-gentrification activists to protest at the proposed site Friday.

KPCC reports the building will face a hearing with the City Council's Planning and Land Use Committee next. The high-rise, which will be the highest the Fashion District has ever seen, plans to set aside 50 units for very low income residents, according to Curbed. The L.A. Times points out activists' main contention with this concession: very low income is defined as an income under $37,000 for a family of two, and most Skid Row residents make under $14,000 a year, therefore disqualifying them from the units.

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Protesters, led by the L.A. Community Action Network, pointed out the high rate of vacancy downtown as a reason to prioritize housing for the area's lowest-income residents. Steve Diaz of L.A. CAN said, "How can we continue to allow skyscrapers to come into our community to remain vacant when we’re in the middle of a homeless crisis?" according to the Times.

Diaz also pointed out the possibility of a rise in police presences in low-income neighborhoods once luxury apartments move in. He told KPCC, "People who come are not going to want to live next to poor people," which will inevitably "create tension" and push out the homeless.

While Los Angeles has voted on several efforts to decrease homelessness—in particular measures JJJ and H—but their execution will take several years to see the effects.

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The proposed building still has to go in front of City Council to be approved. Councilman Jose Huizar is the representative for the area.