Housing Is A Human Right and Patrick Range McDonald, the organization’s advocacy journalist, recently won the “Best Activism Journalism” award from the Los Angeles Press Club. HHR and McDonald earned the honor for the 2019 investigative report on L.A.’s gentrification crisis, titled “The Garcetti-fication of Los Angeles: A Gentrification Cautionary Tale.”
Housing Is A Human Right is the housing advocacy division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the world’s largest HIV/AIDS medical-care nonprofit. For decades, AHF’s mission has been to provide “cutting-edge advocacy” to create long-term policy change. Housing Is A Human Right’s award-winning report, which was researched and written by McDonald, is another example of carrying out that vital work.
The investigation examined government-sanctioned gentrification in Los Angeles and how Mayor Eric Garcetti played a central role.
“At the end of his inauguration speech, as the sky grew dark, Mayor Eric Garcetti boasted that Los Angeles is a ‘paradise,’” McDonald wrote. “In truth, the nation’s second largest city had become a high-profile cautionary tale about modern-day gentrification in California and throughout the United States—and how politicians vigorously push it through. It’s a story that took place over years and often behind closed doors, but can no longer be ignored. Too many lives—in L.A. and across the country—hang in the balance.”
The Housing Is A Human Right report explained that Garcetti and L.A. City Council members have long embraced a “build, baby, build” agenda that pushed for the widespread construction of luxury housing, regardless of its negative impacts on middle- and working-class residents. For years, housing justice activists have said that City Hall’s luxury-housing agenda has fueled gentrification, with city databases, created by the mayor’s “innovation team,” backing them up.
Using that data, the Housing Is A Human Right found that middle- and working-class Angelenos, particularly people of color and immigrants, were getting slammed by a citywide gentrification crisis. With that came soaring rents, record-high evictions, unwanted displacement, and a worsening homelessness emergency.
“People’s worlds were collapsing,” McDonald wrote, “and a humanitarian crisis was unfolding.”
The Housing Is A Human Right investigation is not only important for Los Angeles residents and policymakers, but also a powerful warning for the rest of the country, showing how government policies are key drivers of gentrification in American cities.
(Click here to read the award-winning investigative report.)