Vecindario de Lacy en Acción


Santa Ana, CA
United States

Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities Kennedy Commission University of Wisconsin-Madison

Conducting a community survey to understand displacement pressures and housing insecurity in the wake of COVID-19 and a new rent control ordinance in Santa Ana, California.

The Lacy neighborhood of Santa Ana, California, is in one of the most segregated communities in the country, and residents face significant displacement pressures. Lawmakers recently passed a rent control ordinance to prevent further displacement, but the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic have worsened economic inequities for people of color in the region. The goal of this project is to better understand the scope of housing insecurity and displacement by examining the impacts of displacement pressures, as well as spatial concentration issues such as overcrowding and poor conditions, in both a post-pandemic and rent control environment. Vecindario de Lacy en Acción (VeLA)—a collection of residents who have led research and organizing in the region since 2014—will lead this work. The project is also supported by Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities, which addresses health inequities in the region; the Kennedy Commission, which focuses on affordable housing; El Centro Cultural de Mexico, which provides cultural and education activities to strengthen leadership; and researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Using a community-based participatory research approach, VeLA will train community researchers, including youth leaders, who will survey 300 people in the neighborhood on current displacement pressures, threats to housing security, overcrowding, and habitability. Community researchers will analyze the data from these surveys and share them with community residents in feedback sessions. VeLA will incorporate this feedback into its analysis and final report, which it will share in a broader community forum.

VeLA and its partners will invite the Santa Ana City Council to join the community forum and listen to the results. The report will ideally provide insight into how new tenant protections are helping residents, identify any existing gaps in the rental relief efforts, and help create a more comprehensive neighborhood plan that considers the impacts of poor housing conditions during the pandemic on residents’ health and the need for more open space in the community.