The Crenshaw Mall Redevelopment project is the largest proposed development currently being considered by the City of Los Angeles. At 2.06 million square feet of new construction, the impact will be wide spread on the historically Black Crenshaw community, especially since 1.235 million square feet will be dedicated to adding 961 market-rate housing units.
With the City of L.A. report declaring in 2015 that a household must make over $104,360 to afford a new market-rate housing unit (it is certainly higher now) the purchase prices and rents will be unquestionably unaffordable to the surrounding community. Large market-rate projects in low-income and working-class communities put particular financial strain and increase the risk of displacement on surrounding residents.
To date there has been no assessment of how many residents are at risk of being placed in further financial strain and/or indirectly displaced (a type of displacement that occurs when residents and businesses are gradually priced out/harassed out of the area and must involuntarily leave) by the proposed development. Nor has a collective assessment been made to identify and quantify the unique challenges and needs of the existing neighborhood residents to determine how the massive project will effect them.
A health impact assessment would help answer these questions by bringing together local stakeholders to work in collaboration with policy and data experts:
Every day, policy makers in many sectors have opportunities to make choices that—if they took health into account—could help stem the growth of pressing health problems like obesity, injury, asthma and diabetes that have such a huge impact on our nation’s health care costs and on people’s quality of life.
Health impact assessment (HIA) is a fast-growing field that helps policy makers take advantage of these opportunities by bringing together scientific data, health expertise and public input to identify the potential—and often overlooked—health effects of proposed new laws, regulations, projects and programs. It offers practical recommendations for ways to minimize risks and capitalize on opportunities to improve health. HIA gives federal, tribal, state and local legislators, public agencies and other decision makers the information they need to advance smarter policies today to help build safe, thriving communities tomorrow.
It is recognized as a great policy tool by several government agencies including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention explanation.
Below is Human Impact Partners, which facilitated the health impact assessment on the proposed The Reef development in Historic South Central, which determined that the mega-project with 1,440 market-rate units would cause a moderate to high risk of financial strain or displacement on 43,756 residents within 2 miles of the project.
On a 17 May 2017, a huge coalition of 79 community groups, community leaders, along with allies in housing justice/displacement defense sent a letter to the Mayor, Council President, Council Member and City Planning Commission requesting that they hold on any decisions on the project until the community can come together to do a health impact assessment. (The number has since grown from 79). The letter is below.
Hon. Eric Garcetti
City of Los Angeles Mayor
Hon. Herb Wesson, Jr.
Los Angeles City Council President
Hon. Marqueece Harris Dawson
Los Angeles City Councilmember
Los Angeles City Planning Commission
Dear Mayor Garcetti, Council President Wesson, Councilmember Harris-Dawson & City Planning Commissioners:
Placed at the historic intersection of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevards, the Crenshaw Mall stands at the foot of Leimert Park - Southern California’s center of Black arts, culture, commerce and political power. Mall owners have received millions in taxpayer subsidies, including, but not limited to, City resources for mall renovations and business attraction, and the construction of a Metro station on the publicly funded Crenshaw-LAX Light Rail line. In the future, according to the Draft Environmental Impact Report of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Master Plan, the current mall owners are proposing one of the largest developments in a predominantly Black community in America: 2.06 million square feet of new development, including 1.235 million square feet dedicated to 961 market-rate housing units on the existing site.
Unfortunately, Los Angeles is home to the nation’s worst housing affordability crisis, which is fueling America’s worst homelessness crisis. This is acutely felt in the Crenshaw community and within the regional Black community. In fact, Blacks make up 47% of the city’s homelessness population, despite amounting to only 9% of the overall city population.
The overwhelming majority of residents within a two-mile radius of the Crenshaw Mall live in homes that make less than the City of Los Angeles’ median household income of $50,205 per year.  Median household incomes are lowest in the dense apartment neighborhoods that are directly adjacent to the mall (parts of Baldwin Village and Leimert Park are as low as $17,729 and $16,413 respectively). And in parts of communities proximate to the mall, Jefferson Park and Park Mesa Heights, median household incomes are as low as $25,478 and $18,424 respectively. In every community surrounding the mall, Blacks are at the lowest income level. In sum, not only can Crenshaw community residents in general (and Black Crenshaw community residents specifically) not afford new market-rate housing, but they are at-risk of being displaced from the majority Black Crenshaw community if their current housing costs increase.
Despite these facts, to date there has been no assessment of how many residents are at risk of being placed in further financial strain and/or indirectly displaced (a type of displacement that occurs when residents and businesses are gradually priced out of the area and must involuntarily leave) from the proposed Crenshaw mall redevelopment. Accordingly, no mitigations have been proposed or discussed to protect the cultural integrity of the historic Black communities that surround the mall.
Therefore, we request that the City of Los Angeles, City Planning Commission, City Council, Mayor and any other City Departments delay any decisions or approvals on the proposed Crenshaw Mall redevelopment plan until a full health impact assessment is conducted in coordination with the community to assess the health and equity impacts of the project on the communities surrounding the Crenshaw Mall and region.
You may contact Damien Goodmon for follow-up on this matter at: [email protected]
Founder & Executive Director
Crenshaw Subway Coalition
Los Angeles City Council District 8
Bishop Aaron Martin
Empowerment Congress Central Area Neighborhood Development Council
Advocates for Black Strategic Alternatives
African American Cultural Center (US)
Institute of the Black World 21st Century
Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment-Los Angeles (ACCE-LA)
Dr. Alpha Omega Curry, Ph.D
National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice
Professor Amen Rahh
Africana Studies Department, Cal State University-Long Beach
Empowerment Congress North Area Neighborhood Development Council (NANDC)
Founder & Board Member
SoLA Food Co-Op
Black Community Clergy & Labor Alliance (BCCLA)
California Senior Leaders Alliance
Rev. C. Eziokwu Washington
WE CAN Foundation/Congress of Racial Equality
Housing Rights Center
Clarissa Woo Hermosillo
Economic Justice Project Director
ACLU of Southern California
Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE)
Clinton Simmons, P.E.
West Adams Neighborhood Council
Coalition of 100 Black Women – Los Angeles
Community Development Technologies (CD Tech)
Tenth District Women’s Steering Committee
Cynthia Davis, MPH
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
National Resources Defense Council
Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council
Dr. David Horne, Ph.D
Professor & Former Chair
Pan-African Studies Department, Cal State University-Northridge
Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable
Elena I. Popp, esq.
Founder & Executive Director
Eviction Defense Network
Bishop Emery Lindsay
Christ Temple Church-Los Angeles
Erin Aubry Kaplan
Award-Winning Author & Columnist
Fix the City
RISE Financial Pathways*
LA County Health Agency Integration Advisory Board Subcommittee on Homelessness
Dr. Helena Johnson, Ed.D
National Council of Negro Women – Southern California Area
Zambezi’s Bazaar (Leimert Park)
Founder & Curator
Museum of Slavery to Emancipation, Research and Community Outreach
Black Women for Wellness
Regional Vice Chair, Region 4
Los Angeles Democratic Party*
Professor Jody Armour
Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law
USC School of Law
Rev. Kelvin Sauls
Holman United Methodist Church
Rev. K. W. Tulloss
The Historical Weller Street Missionary Baptist Church
Labor/Community Strategy Center
Black Leader & Columnist
LA Sentinel Newspaper
Rev. Dr. Lewis E. Logan, II
Co-Founder & Senior Pastor
Ruach Christian Community Fellowship
Hyde Park Organizational Partnership for Empowerment (HOPE)
South LA Alliance of Neighborhood Councils
Founder & CEO
Healthy African American Families II
Parish Pastoral Council President
Holy Name of Jesus Church
Los Angeles Black Worker Center
Los Angeles Center for Community Law & Action
Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN)
Los Angeles Tenants Union
Director of Health & Wellness
Dignity & Power Now
Dr. Melina Abdullah, Ph.D
Professor & Chair, Pan African Studies
Cal State University-Los Angeles
Dr. Michael Batie, Ph.D
Los Angeles Council of Black Professional Engineers
Planning & Land Use Committee Chair
Empowerment Congress Southwest Area Neighborhood Development Council
National Action Network-Los Angeles
Neighborhood Housing Services of Los Angeles County
Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Homeowners Coalition
Park Mesa Heights Community Council
People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER)
Great Beginnings for Black Babies
Los Angeles City Planning Commission
Unión del Barrio-Los Angeles
Southwest Region Area Director
Dr. Shirley Better, Ph.D
Association of Black Social Workers of Greater Los Angeles
Southern Christian Leadership Conference-Southern California
Steve Bagby, Sr.
Dorsey H.S. Alumni Association
Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE)
Strategic Concepts in Organizing & Policy Education (SCOPE)
Founder & Director
View Park Arts & Cultural Foundation
I Choose Life Health & Wellness
Tori Bailey, MHA
United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council
Union de Vecinos
United Neighbors for Los Angeles
Rev. William D. Smart, Jr.
Christ Liberation Ministries
Woodrow Curry, III
Youth Justice Coalition
 City of Los Angeles Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Master Plan Project Jan 2016 Pg. I-1: “The Proposed Project would add a total of approximately 2.06 million square feet of development to the Project Site, which would consist of approximately 820,000 square feet of commercial development and 961 residential units (totaling approximately 1.235 million residential square feet).”
 US Census. American Fact Finder
 LAHCID 11/17/15 Report to Mayor Eric Garcetti Pg. 3: “At these rental rates, families must earn $81,240 to afford the average rent and $104,360 to afford a newly built apartment.”