Advocates Hope To Energize Affordable Housing Conversation With Free Screening of KCET’s “City Rising”

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KCET’s “City Rising” examines the housing crisis and possible solutions to slow the gentrification and displacement that has come to so many California communities recently. 

As the affordable housing market continues to wain local housing advocates are hosting the first full-length screening in Long Beach of KCET Media Group’s documentary “City Rising” at the Art Theatre January 24.

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The documentary released last year visits the topics of gentrification, displacement and possible solutions to the housing crisis that has gripped the state. It was released last year in chapters that include footage and stories from six cities including Oakland, Long Beach, Boyle Heights and South Central Los Angeles. Community members, landlords and city staff members from Long Beach are featured in the film discussing the obstacles the city faces in addressing its housing needs.

City Rising Screening Flye“This is an issue that has not only been going on for a long time but it’s also a complex issue where it not only interfaces some of the economic issues but also the human aspects which the film does really well,” said James Suazo, associate director of Building Healthy Communities Long Beach, who will serve as moderator for a panel discussion after the film. “When you talk about gentrification and displacement it’s easy to get lost behind these large words and complex economic theories, but at the end of the day there’s a real human impact on people who have called Long Beach their home for a very long time.”

The panel discussion will include representatives from Latinos in Action California, a local tenants rights group Long Beach Residents Empowered and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.

Suazo says that in the wake of Mayor Robert Garcia most recent public stance against rent control, the time has come for solutions to be put on the table, something he says the film does a good job of showcasing in markets spanning from Sacramento down to Long Beach.

“Now that we’re seeing elected officials take official positions on these actual solutions that advocates are proposing I think it’s a sign that this is a very serious conversation,” Suazo said. “I think for a number of years our people in the renter community have been talking about the severe housing crisis that has been here while others may have argued that it was coming. Now we have to face the facts that we’re in a very dire housing crisis and now is the time to work on implementing solutions.”

The event, which is free to the public, is being co-hosted by Second District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce who helped secure the location and will include a panel discussion after the film ends. Translation for the film into Spanish and Khmer will be provided at the event as will a free childcare.

Doors are expected to open at 6:30PM with the film beginning at 7:00PM.

The Art Theater of Long Beach is located at 2025 East 4th Street.

[Editors note: A previous version of this story stated that Mayor Robert Garcia recently took a stance against rent control, he has made multiple statements against rent control before releasing a statement opposing it late last week. The story has been updated.]

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.
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