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Vacant Homes, Properties Owned By Caltrans Would Be Converted Into Affordable Housing Under Proposed Plan

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The vacant homes and properties purchased by Caltrans to extend the 710 Freeway would be developed into affordable housing, under a new plan proposed by LA City Councilman Kevin De Leon.

The proposed El Sereno Vision Plan would convert the 77 vacant homes along the 710 Freeway in El Sereno into affordable housing. The homes had been purchased by Caltrans decades ago in anticipation of extending the 710 Freeway all the way to the 210 Freeway.

The effort to extend the freeway officially died in 2018, leaving behind hundreds of properties owned by Caltrans in El Sereno, Alhambra, South Pasadena, and Pasadena. A number of homes are occupied, and those tenants are trying to buy the properties from Caltrans. The vacant properties and parcels along a 1.75-mile stretch of El Sereno are being prepared for sale – but not if De Leon can help it.

710 homes
(credit: CBS)

With state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo and Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo, De Leon announced his plan to purchase the properties from Caltrans and convert them into affordable housing. Earlier this year, legislation authored by Durazo and Carrillo was approved, making it possible for the vacant properties to be sold at the 1950s price the state paid for them. De Leon says the proposed plan would "avoid piecemeal development of the vacant properties."

Some of the El Sereno properties were taken over by squatters last year, prompting eviction action by the California Highway Patrol. Neighbors said people had moved into the vacant homes, leading to a rise in crime in the area.

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