Mar 6, 2020
In 2008, my mom was able to scrape enough money together to buy our home in Lincoln Heights so I could be closer to school and my grandma’s house in the neighborhood I grew up in. Two months later, the Great Recession hit, but we were lucky enough to stay in our home for a few more years.
In 2009, we were involved in a car accident, and as a result my mom experienced health complications. Her injuries and time off from work made it difficult to pay the mortgage. The bank wouldn’t modify the mortgage, and we lost thousands of dollars to legal representation that only prolonged the foreclosure process. Right before Christmas of 2012, we were evicted from our home. We lost many of our belongings and in many ways, had to start over.
On the day we were evicted, I had to take a final at school, but I couldn’t focus. The following day I had a statistics final, and I kept thinking, ‘Where am I going to sleep tonight?’ Fortunately, I still managed to get straight A’s that semester.
Homes in the area used to cost about $200k to $300k, but now they cost over $500k. I fear that it may be impossible for me to buy a home in the neighborhood I grew up in. Since losing our home, we’ve been forced to rent, and we’ve moved 4 times since 2012.
We’ve had to move twice because the owners decided to sell the overvalued homes that we lived in. My mom and I still live together, but everyday we have this anxiety of losing our home again. We fix stuff around the house and swallow the cost so we don’t burden our landlord. We fear that if we’re a burden, we may be asked to leave. If we had to move again, we’re not sure where we can go with rent in LA being so high right now.
I’m currently studying to earn a Master of Urban Planning at USC Price — I want to be a voice in a field that is predominantly white and male. I’m motivated to find solutions to California’s housing crisis & I’m proud to have contributed to California YIMBY’s Women of Color Report.
I believe that we need to build more homes, and at the same time, we need to build our neighborhoods without displacing long-term residents. We can also design our neighborhoods with authentic community engagement and community-driven development to increase opportunities for everyone.
More than anything, I want to live in a California where people like me can afford to own a home in the communities we call home.