On December 2nd, United Parents and Students hosted a summit on issues facing our communities in Los Angeles facing Green Dot parents and students. This series will explore the focus areas of ForwardLA: A Day of Justice.
A child’s life at home and at school are directly related – improvements in one space can and will reflect in a child’s well-being in the other. For all parents and families, helping their children succeed in school means providing support and stability in housing. Unfortunately, economic conditions in Los Angeles have made this more difficult for parents to do, as the city continues to face a dire affordable housing crisis.
Los Angeles is the second largest metropolitan area in the United States and is expected to continue growing as it attracts professionals, tech companies, aspiring entrepreneurs, and artists looking for their big break. Thus the need for more space and housing accommodations continues to outpace available and affordable housing.
Rapid development in Los Angeles disproportionately affects Angelenos living in historically underserved communities who often feel the heaviest burden of this crisis. As Los Angeles becomes a more expensive place to live, and residents and new, trendy businesses continue to move into older neighborhoods, long-term residents are forced to deal with the effects of gentrification. Skyrocketing property values and rent rates limit affordable housing options for families and continually force them out of the homes and neighborhoods where they have lived for years. At Green Dot, we are eager to partner with our parents and our community to dive deep into this issue and become proactive in developing solutions to a crisis that affects the diverse populations of students we serve.
“In an ideal world, a student's number one priority should be his or her schoolwork, but students are often times are not able to make schoolwork a priority because they live in constant fear of ending up on the streets. I have often felt the stress of not being able to afford rent," said a Green Dot student at Ánimo Venice Charter High School. "My parents are both hardworking people, but the truth is that they both make just enough to get us by. If the rent gets any higher, we might lose everything they have worked so hard for. Not having access to affordable housing is just another way to keep minorities under systematic oppression. As a community, we should feel the need to step up and work to fix this issue.”
Student voices like this are a reminder as to why it is so important to partner with parents to help resolve housing inequity. At Green Dot and United Parents and Students, we believe that the long-term success of every child lies at the intersection of life at home and life in school. This is why families and community members addressed the affordable housing crisis, amongst other local issues, that exist in our communities at ForwardLA on December 2nd. This summit serves as a milestone in achieving meaningful change outside of our school walls and on the ground within our local neighborhoods. As a family of charter public schools, we hope to use our platform to improve the housing situations faced by underserved and underrepresented communities. A win for these communities means a win for our students and a win for all of Los Angeles, too.