In Los Angeles, Renters Want Their Own Green New Deal

Some 200 low-income renters and their supporters shout slogans while gathered on the steps to City Hall in downtown Los Angeles on April 20, 2016, where attention was called to the increasing burden of rising rents and threats of eviction, ahead of a City Council Housing Committee meeting. / AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

HCHC’s Director of Asset Management, Malen Rodriguez was mentioned in this story from The Natural Resources Defense Council.

Still, the process of obtaining an efficiency retrofit can be cumbersome, involving tight timelines, numerous decision makers, buildings that are unique in their needs, and no one-size-fits-all solutions. Malen Rodriguez, director of asset management for the Hollywood Community Housing Corporation (HCHC), knows this well. HCHC owns a 54-unit, four-story building in Hollywood, many of whose tenants are senior citizens and low-income families taking part in the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program (aka Section 8). In 2016, HCHC undertook a whole-building retrofit via LIWP that tackled lighting, low-flow showerheads, toilets, and boilers. “It’s not easy,” Rodriguez says, “because it’s a full-time job. You have to do all the analysis with LIWP, meet with them, inspect the property, meet with vendors.” At one point, she recalls with a laugh, Rodriguez found herself retrieving empty LED light bulb packaging from the garbage, because the LIWP program needed certain data printed on the boxes in order to keep track of its energy savings. “We had to run after the trash guy to return the trash!” 
Despite the difficulties, Rodriguez feels the nearly yearlong, whole-building retrofit was worth it. “The first year that we did it, 2016, our gas [bill] was lowered by 27 percent and water [bill] was lowered by 16 percent,” she says. That’s money that the Hollywood Community Housing Corporation was able to put back into the building by painting common areas, for example.

NRDC Wesbite – Karen L. Smith-Janssen

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