Commentary, Sports

Steve Ballmer can’t guarantee a housing solution for Inglewood residents

The Los Angeles Clippers plan to have their new home stadium in Inglewood by 2024. This will likely create an increase in activity for the city, which will benefit the team and surrounding area.

Owner Steve Ballmer also contributed $100 million to the city of Inglewood to help with affordable housing and education. This donation will allow the city to deal with problems that may arise from the stadium like gentrification of the surrounding area.

In the best scenario, the city will be able to efficiently use the money on affordable housing for its current residents and open up avenues for the children to get a proper education. On the other hand, this large sum of money could be wasted away and end up hurting the current residents of Inglewood.

Mark Zuckerberg similarly donated $100 million to help schools in Newark, New Jersey, but the investment failed. This malpractice is just one example that shows the downside of donating money to an issue without having a solidified vision.

Three-quarters of Ballmer’s donation will be going towards affordable housing, a detail that has not been explored much. The lack of a clear and concise plan is not an encouraging sign for those who expect affordable housing to be a reality after the arena is up and running.

There are many ways you can tackle housing issues, but not a single one truly stands out as a definitive answer according to a Harvard study.

Something as simple as a rent subsidy, where the government helps lower the cost of housing by paying a portion of it, has its flaws. These laws allow landlords to find ways to raise rent prices, which would dump the financial burden on Inglewood.

Every form of affordable housing is going to have its issues, but Inglewood is still going to have to choose a method of helping its citizens since a majority of their lower-income residents are counting on it.

Poorer Inglewood residents rely on renting their homes, and the statistics show the significant financial effect that has on people. For those above the poverty line, the need to rent is at 60% and goes up 20% when looking at people fall below the poverty line. 

The working-class in Inglewood has a clear reason for concern if they want to avoid having to deal with the same housing issues that plague all of Los Angeles County. Many of which are caused by corporations that have an implicit effect on higher rent prices.

The Clippers have the potential to follow the same path that the Lakers did: gentrifying a whole neighborhood and pushing out an impoverished community. However, circumstances are much different because Ballmer’s investment has the opportunity to help the community. The Lakers’ ownership gave no such donation and taxed residents for the stadium’s construction. 

One would hope that $75 million dollars could be the difference-maker for Inglewood’s renters, but this answer won’t come anytime soon.

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