Jan 8, 2018
A 96-unit apartment complex near Los Angeles, dubbed “Sun Valley Senior Veterans Apartments,” is being built 200 feet away from the very busy Freeway 5 – where 200,000 vehicles drive by each day. This, of course, will expose the residents to not only a lot of noise, but also very high levels of air pollution.
The state of California is providing 11.1 million dollars for this project, even though state officials themselves say that living within 500 feet of a freeway will cause high rates of asthma, heart disease and cancer, among other ailments. California has so far awarded a total of 65 million dollars for 10 such “affordable housing” projects within 500 feet of freeways in different parts of the state – in fact one 135-unit building in San Jose is only 25 feet from Highway 87!
So this is what officials mean when they offer “affordable housing” as a solution to skyrocketing rents and homelessness in California. Affordable housing is built on cheap land because the air is polluted; it is subsidized with public money – and while tenants get poisoned, developers and others make a big profit. The Sun Valley project, for example, was originally approved more than 10 years ago for only three homes. The city eventually granted the developers’ request, pitched for by the Congressman and two State legislators from the area, to build 96 units there. After that, in 2015, the land was sold for 3.5 million dollars, more than three times the amount the owners paid for it in 2006.
The state money for the Sun Valley project comes from California’s “cap-and-trade” program which, officials originally claimed, would help to reduce pollution. Companies are allowed to exceed the state’s pollution limits if they pay a penalty for polluting, and the money is supposed to be used to fund “environmentally friendly” projects. And how do these apartments, which are pollution traps, qualify as “environmentally friendly”? They are near a bus stop or train station!
In November, Los Angeles city politicians succeeded in passing a 1.2-billion-dollar bond measure to build 10,000 homes for homeless people. You can bet that speculators are busy looking for land near the freeways.