Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Gina deBaca
Pico Neighborhood Assn. 

Santa Monica Shows Signs of Gentrification

PNA says Population Becoming Much Richer, and Fast


In a press release entitled "Updated Santa Monica Ellis & Eviction Map IllustratesGentrification and Resident Displacement," a neighborhood group charges that Santa Monica is "transforming into an exclusive tourist destination and high-income community with less and less room for its low-income residents."

The Pico Neighborhood Group says that the updated Santa Monica Ellis & Eviction Map, released today by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project in partnership with the Pico Neighborhood Association and the Santa Monica Rent Control Board, illustrates the displacement crisis, as rising housing prices and Ellis Act evictions exacerbate market pressures on low-income residents, forcing them to relocate outside of the City. “One thing that is clear from the maps is that gentrification is not limited to the Pico Neighborhood but it is impacting long term renters in other neighborhoods in Santa Monica”, said Maria Loya

The interactive map tracks the impact of the Ellis Act on Santa Monica’s population over time. Since the Ellis Act was enacted by the Ca. State Legislature in 1986, giving landlords more power to transform their buildings, almost 2,000 rent controlled units have been lost in Santa Monica. The Pico Neighborhood Association (PNA), with support from the Santa Monica Rent Control Board and the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project created the interactive map. Two maps were created to demonstrate the overall impact of the Ellis Act over time and and second map the shows the Ellising and eviction that have occurred in the past three years and the location of where the evictions are taking place within the City of Santa Monica. The map can be accessed on the internet at: and

“We are seeing an increase in the misuse of the Ellis Act throughout California that needs to be addressed locally and at the statewide level,” stated Erin McElroy, the project’s director. A key partner in the map’s creation was the staff of the Santa Monica Rent Control Board who provided the data for the maps creation. “The Ellis Act continues to be a pernicious force in our neighborhoods. Between 2013 and 2014, withdrawal notices rose nearly 75% and between 2014 and 2015 the number of units affected increased nearly two-fold from 85 units to 153 units. It is time for Ellis Act reform on the state level. In Santa Monica, we must continue to be ever-vigilant and work to protect our residents by informing them of their rights and protections under the Ellis Act and continuing to closely monitor post-Ellis activity, particularly in the realm of short term rentals.”, said Nicole Phillis, Rent Control Board Chairperson.

“We envision a Santa Monica that is diverse but this vision is being threatened daily by market pressures through the development of market rate housing. The Expo Light Rail line, lacking an aggressive affordable housing strategy will exacerbate the displacement of low income residents. We need to develop a comprehensive strategy to protect current residents from displacement. Protecting the diversity that makes Santa Monica a vibrant community must include a thoughtful approach including, zoning protections, affordable housing, quality jobs and workforce training for local residents,” stated Cris McLeod, Chair of the Pico Neighborhood Association.


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