The Alliance for Community Transit – Los Angeles (ACT-LA) strives to create just, equitable, sustainable transit systems and neighborhoods for all people in Los Angeles, placing the interest of low-income communities and communities of color first as we create a more sustainable region.
ACT-LA envisions a Los Angeles that is a transit-rich city where all people have access to quality jobs, affordable housing, necessary social services, ample transportation options, and a voice in decision-making. We believe in building a sustainable community through the reduction of toxic air pollution, the promotion of public health, and the strengthening of community culture and heritage.
ACT-LA was founded in 2011 after a series of community assemblies were organized to address displacement of low-income families from Los Angeles’s transit-rich neighborhoods. ACT-LA formed out of these assemblies so that the region would have a coalition of grassroots and “grasstops” organizations working together to organize city and county-wide campaigns around transit justice, housing justice, public health, and quality jobs.
As Southern California plans for the future, ACT-LA strives to eliminate the barriers and institutional policies that unduly and historically burden low-income communities and communities of color. Our goal is an equitable transformation that benefits and includes low-income communities and communities of color and preserves the cultural resources that already exist in Los Angeles’s neighborhoods.
What We Care About
- Housing: Los Angeles is burdened by having extremely high housing costs in relation to incomes. Trends towards increasing low-wage service sector jobs in the region will greatly affect the demand for housing, in particular affordable housing. As such, the number of homeless individuals and households has increased significantly between 2015 to 2020.
- Jobs: About 22% of households in the City of Los Angeles earn less than $25,000 a year and 42% of all households make less than $50,000 a year. The top 5 projected occupations through 2028 in Los Angeles county all have a median income of less than $31,250, indicating wages are not keeping up with the cost of living in Los Angeles.
- Transportation: The median household income of a bus rider is $18,000. For the majority of bus riders, LA Metro is their only source of transportation, and the second highest household cost besides rent.
- Climate: Incentivizing the use of public transportation, such as making public transit fare-free, can increase public transportation ridership by as much as 45%, and is the only public transportation strategy that would allow Los Angeles to reach its environmental goals.
Creation of Community Transit
The ability to travel to your job, your doctor, your family is a human right and transit should be useful, affordable, and accessible for everyone.
Accountability of Public Dollars
Expenditure of public funds should be transparent and accountable. Public funds should be used for public benefit, not to drive forward displacement or destroy existing low-income communities.
Growth of Affordable Housing
We must prioritize the production and preservation of affordable housing for workers and core transit riders, both groups consisting mainly of extremely low-income households.
We must strengthen, enhance, and preserve low-income communities and communities of color including small businesses and local nonprofits with community-serving purposes.
Low-income communities and communities of color should drive the change and the vision of our neighborhoods.
De-Criminalize Low-Income Communities and Communities of Color
We must shift perceptions and biases from identifying low-income communities and communities of color as breeding grounds for violence and crime, to celebrating and embracing our neighborhoods’ culture and contributions.
We must create high standard jobs with integrity and dignity that provide low-income people, especially those with additional barriers to employment, with a strong quality of life.
Community Health Improvement
Development of housing and transportation should promote community and individual health.
Promotion of Sustainability
Environmental challenges need to be addressed through responsible development practices that reduce air, water, and other pollution.
The Alliance for Community Transit – Los Angeles places low-income communities and communities of color at the center of the decision-making process as the Los Angeles region transforms its public transportation system, neighborhoods, businesses, and communities.
By calling for a new Los Angeles that is accessible and affordable for all people, we seek to reshape existing development patterns. For example, in the Southland many low-income communities and communities of color live in inner and outer ring suburbs, miles away from the region’s biggest economic engine. Those who are able to live in the city are often without reliable, affordable, or accessible transit, and may not make a livable wage. ACT-LA works tirelessly to ensure that smart growth and urban revitalization do not mask, ignore, or deepen the negative human and environmental impacts of the affordable housing crisis in Los Angeles.
- Our coalition roots itself in economic, environmental, and racial justice.
- We stand for the proposition that all people have the right to live their lives with dignity, to have access to a source of income that provides for their basic human needs, and to live, work, and play in a safe and healthy environment.
- All people have the right to participate in the political decisions that affect their lives, and the low-income communities and communities of color who ride our buses, live along our rail lines, and work in our businesses should have priority in deciding our future.
- Race, ethnicity, skin color, gender, national background, disability, sexual orientation, and English proficiency should not be determinants of economic status, life expectancy, or over-exposure to environmental toxins – nor should they be the basis of limited opportunities for success in our communities.
How We Work
ACT-LA unites community organizers and resident leaders from across the city to win campaigns for quality jobs, affordable housing and transit equity. We provide organizing support and coordination to grassroots organizations so that our coalition’s campaigns can be led by organizing staff and resident leaders from various organizations.
Our coalition draws upon our members’ collective expertise to develop policies that address our core issues including land use, housing, jobs, transit and environmental sustainability.
Through strategic advocacy we impact local and state policy, influence planning processes throughout Los Angeles county, and elevate research on our issues to inform public opinion.
Dozens of organizations from neighborhoods across Los Angeles have come together to build off local victories and have greater impact in the city and county. Our coalition unites grassroots groups deeply rooted in their communities with “grasstops” organizations under a common agenda to bring to policy makers throughout the city, county and state. To win on our campaigns, we have formed strong partnerships with public agencies, the labor movement, and academic institutions.
ACT-LA is reshaping the narratives on housing and public transit in Los Angeles through strategic communications efforts, from social and traditional media to theatrical performances and digital storytelling.