Santa Monica begins accepting applications for families displaced by the construction of a freeway and community center

Below market apartments for historically displaced households Pilot application window opening on January 18th

By Sam Catanzaro

Santa Monica will shortly be accepting applications for families evicted from the city in the 1950s and 1960s due to the construction of the 1-10 Freeway and Civic Center.

Beginning January 18, 2022, the City of Santa Monica will open applications for the Below Market Housing (BMH) pilot program for historically displaced households.

“We started this program with the sincere hope that former Santa Monica residents will take advantage of this new affordable housing option,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “If you know of any parishioners who were evicted in the 1950s and 1960s, we ask for your assistance in providing the pilot information so we can identify as many candidates as possible.”

From the 1950s onwards, the federal government made funds available for urban renewal across the country, which resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of families from their homes and neighborhoods.

“Santa Monica was not immune to these national guidelines and practices. The local impact was particularly significant in two areas of the city: in the Belmar Triangle (now the Civic Auditorium) and on the I-10 Highway / Pico Corridor, ”said a Santa Monica report on family displacement .

The Belmar Triangle area was once populated with rows of shotgun houses. Mainly made up of black residents and business owners, the neighborhood was earmarked for urban renewal, and in the 1950s the city used a significant area to purchase real estate to accommodate the construction of the Civic Auditorium as part of a national program called Build America To do better.

The area around the I-10 Freeway has had a similar history of displacement. The freeway was built in the 1960s and essentially divided the Pico neighborhood in two, largely crowding out low-income households, including African American and Latin American families. The state of California used significant land to purchase homes that ran the route of the current freeway to connect downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Coast Highway. The expansion of the motorway began in 1957 and was completed in 1966.

“By the late 1960s, thousands of Santa Monica households had been displaced by urban regeneration projects,” the staff report said.

In March 2019, when discussing proposed changes to the city’s affordable housing production program, the city council instructed staff to consider a historical eviction policy or a “right of return” city policy for affordable housing to commemorate the Belmar Triangle neighborhood that overlooked naming the recognition goes beyond the new sports field on the grounds of the community center. The result was the Below Market Housing (BMH) pilot program for historically displaced households.

As part of this news program, participants have priority in city-financed housing and integrative housing. The city will accept up to 100 applicants who must be descendants of displaced households, either children or grandchildren. The application period is from January 18 to February 22, 2022.

If more than 100 households apply within the first 30 days after the deadline, the city will hold a lottery.

“Otherwise, after the first 30 days of the enrollment deadline, if fewer than 100 applications have been received, the enrollment period and households that apply within the first 30 days and households that apply after February 22, 2022, will be extended to up to 100 applicants will be checked for eligibility in the order in which they apply, ”the city said in a press release announcing the program.

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