Where ‘Remodel’ Means ‘Rebuild’

Alma Collins paused in front of the house at 613 Santa Clara Ave., a place she had called home for 50 years. It wasn’t home anymore. She sold it in 2014 — not because she wanted to leave Oakwood, but because Venice’s historically African-American neighborhood left her. “I used to live with two [modest] single-family homes on each side of me. I came home from work one day and the homes were gone. In a day they were gone,” Collins said. What was quickly built in their place, she said, “took my air, took my sun, and that was the beginning of me deciding that I don’t want to live here anymore.” Collins said she never received any notice, official or otherwise, that her neighbors’ homes would be demolished to create what are mansions by comparison. It’s a frequent complaint among local affordable housing activists.

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