Property Ownership: A Boyle Heights Case Study

If you are familiar with our organization, you know that we care tremendously about a wide range of economic issues that disproportionately impact low-income communities of color, and that these issues directly shape and influence the projects and programs we develop. You may not, however, know that we also commit time and energy into researching these issues at different scales. Sometimes we scratch the surfaces of certain topics through blog pieces, and other times we “dive deep” and really try to to understand complex issues through multiple angles and lenses. Last year we conducted one of these “deep dives,” through a study in which we focused on understanding property ownership trends and opinions in Boyle Heights.

Our study had three goals:

1) Identify unique economic trends related to commercial and residential property values;

2) Identify significant barriers preventing community residents from owning property; and

3) Provide recommendations for increasing property ownership rates for Boyle Heights residents.

We conducted this research because we believe that property ownership is an incredibly important component at the center of one of the most highly contentious issues of our time: gentrification. We operate under the belief that if community residents physically own portions of their neighborhoods, they gain significant personal economic agency and a greater say in the transformations of their communities. Furthermore, we centered this research in Boyle Heights because it is a community that overlaps significantly with much of our work related to entrepreneurs and because it is constantly pitted as a sort of battleground for gentrification and displacement. However, Boyle Heights is much more than its narrative of conflict. It is also an incredibly resilient, and loving community with a rich history. It is an often undervalued and underestimated neighborhood not in need of pity or charity, but of respect and constructive, equitable forms of support.

There are several aspects to this study, all of which you can find in two locations. First, we created a two-page summary sheet that provides the most important highlights and recommendations from our study. Second, our full report contains every single detail about our study including full data summaries and research methods. We’re excited to share this information with you and we’re even more excited to use this information as a tool for positive, actionable outcomes in Boyle Heights and throughout Los Angeles.