Friday, September 30, 2022

Descendants of Displaced Black Families in Santa Monica Apply for New Homes

Black families apply for homes in Santa Monica
via YouTube screenshot / NBCLX

*More than 100 descendants of Black families who were forced out of Santa Monica during the construction of urban development projects in the city during the 1950s and 1960s have applied for new housing as part of a city program.

The Below Market Housing pilot was launched in January and “looks to match families and their descendants who were displaced during urban development projects in the city during the 1950s and 1960s,” per  KNX 1070 News Radio Los Angeles. 

According to The Times, an estimated 600 families lost their homes when the I-10 freeway was built through the Pico neighborhood. 

Learn more about the historic Pico district via the video report below.

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Here’s more from the KNX report:

The program, which will provide priority in city-funded housing and inclusionary housing for up to 100 applicants, will remain open to applicants through Feb. 22. Applicants can be from households or descendants of households (children or grandchildren) who were displaced, city officials said.

Nationwide, more than 1 million people lost their homes in just the first two decades of interstate construction alone, as highway planners targeted many Black neighborhoods for destruction, and displaced families often received little compensation, according to The Times.

“We created this program in the earnest hope that former Santa Monica residents take advantage of this new affordable housing opportunity,” Mayor Sue Himmelrich said in a statement to Patch. “If you know community members who were displaced in the 1950s and 1960s, we ask for your assistance in sharing the pilot information so we can identify as many candidates as possible.”

Per Patch, If more than 100 households apply within the first 30 days of the application period, a lottery will be conducted.”

City leaders hope their efforts will launch a national model that tackles racist policies of the past, according to the report. 

“The African American neighborhood thrived in the Belmar Triangle until the 1950s when it literally went up in smoke in the name of urban renewal,” according to the city of Santa Monica’s website. “The land was taken away by eminent domain to make way for the City’s expanded Civic Center, which included an Auditorium and the Los Angeles County Courthouse. The City burned down homes and businesses both rented and owned by African Americans and other marginalized groups.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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