The Housing Authority of the City of LA has big plans for Jordan Downs, 700 units of public housing in the heart of Watts where some families have lived for generations. Private developers have now begun plans to tear it all down to make way for a much larger "urban village," including subsidized homes and houses to be sold at fair-market value. The idea is to upgrade the neighborhood without the displacement of low-income people that comes with gentrification. Will all the current residents be allowed to move back in? Where will they go in the meantime? Can private operators protect the public interest while they're making a profit? On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, long-term unemployment and the "American Dream."
FROM THIS EPISODE
Jordan Downs in LA's Watts district was begun as a shelter for factory workers during World War II. It was turned into public housing in the 1950's. After the Watts riots of 1965, it became known for gang violence and other forms of crime. Generations of families have been living there since, and they report that conditions aren't as bad as they used to be. Now HACLA, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, has authorized private developers to plan the tearing down of all 700 units, to be replaced with 1800 new homes they call an "urban village."
Continued unemployment at 8.2 percent is not just a political story, but a measure of human misery. When formerly middle class workers are on the streets with their children, what's the future of the "American Dream?" We talk about the human cost of long-term unemployment for millions of Americans, the causes and potential solutions.
Peter S. Goodman