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Abundant Housing LA’s new UCLA chapter hosts 1st meeting

Abundant Housing LA at UCLA, a student chapter of Abundant Housing LA, held its first meeting Monday to discuss high housing costs and lack of housing and their burden on students. (Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)

By Alexandra Kaiser

Sept. 29, 2022 10:55 p.m.

A new campus group will advocate for lower housing costs in Westwood through student activism.

Abundant Housing LA at UCLA, a student chapter of Abundant Housing LA, held its first meeting Monday, discussing current housing costs in Los Angeles and Westwood with Abundant Housing LA organizers. Abundant Housing LA works to make LA housing more affordable and diversify the area, according to its website.

Historical decisions and trends, such as segregation through race-based covenants and redlining, have helped contribute to the high costs and lack of housing in LA, including in Westwood, said Josh Gonzales, the education director at Abundant Housing LA, during the meeting.

“There was a point in our history where we just stopped keeping up with the population growth. We didn’t build enough housing to house people,” Gonzales said during the meeting. “It’s (high rent is) because there’s just not enough housing, and it becomes a competitive thing.”

Scott Anglim, the president of Abundant Housing LA at UCLA, said he started the student chapter because he saw a lack of action on the issue of affordable housing. The high costs of housing act as a boundary between students and access to the university, he added.

“I think if we’re going to have this school spirit and this pride, we should be able to expand that and offer that to as many people as possible. And the number one boundary I saw was the lack of housing on and off campus,” said Anglim, who is also a fourth-year political science transfer student.

Ricky Elwell, a physics doctoral student, said he joined the organization to learn how he can engage with the issue of affordable housing. His own family has had issues maintaining housing stability in major cities, which helps drive his concern for the issue, Elwell added.

“I don’t really know much about what it looks like to do all this stuff, but I just want to learn,” he said.

The UCLA chapter will be student-run and utilize Abundant Housing LA for support as needed, said Cynthia Clemons, a field organizer at Abundant Housing LA.

Before the November elections, the group will campaign for housing and affordability, Anglim said. Looking further ahead, the group hopes to ensure the discussion over housing and affordability continues, he added.

The youth and energy of people on a college campus can help move past more traditional housing trends that reinforce the high cost of housing in LA, Gonzales said.

“It’s important that … the students here take the knowledge of both the past and the present … to be able to create a better future,” he said.

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Alexandra Kaiser | Campus politics editor
Kaiser is the 2022-2023 campus politics editor. She was previously a News reporter and Opinion columnist. She is also a third-year communication and political science student.
Kaiser is the 2022-2023 campus politics editor. She was previously a News reporter and Opinion columnist. She is also a third-year communication and political science student.
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