Low-cost housing complex for Pinoys opens in Los Angeles

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Dec 17 2013 04:09 PM | Updated as of Dec 18 2013 12:09 AM

LOS ANGELES - New beginnings are taking place at the Larry Itliong Village, a newly built low-income affordable housing unit run by the Pilipino Workers Center.

"It's been a dream of mine personally and a dream of the Pilipino Workers Center to have a new building, and it's great to be able to also help the dreams of the people who are moving into the building, have this permanent beautiful housing here in our Filipinotown," said Aqui Soriano of the Pilipino Workers Center.

The building has 45 units, and with the help of government programs, low income tenants can rent for as low as $300 a month, depending on their income and family size.

For custodian Joel Swing, a single father who lives with his 4 children and elderly mother, he couldn't be happier with his new 3-bedroom unit.

Before moving in this month, the family of 6 lived in a 2- bedroom, 1-bath apartment while paying $1,200 for rent.

Under the program, he now pays just over a thousand dollars for a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment.

"It's bigger. It's nice. I have more privacy," said Patricia Swing.

The building will also house the Pilipino Workers Center and their programs which serve the low income, including the undocumented and other immigrants, as well as campaigns such as worker rights and immigration reform.

The complex was named after Filipino labor leader Larry Itliong, who fought for the rights of Filipino farm workers in the 1960s.

"Now that we have this building, we're able to create more visibility for the Filipino American community, for the Pilipino Workers Center, and for that legacy of farm workers organizing for the amazing life of Larry Itliong, Philip Vera Cruz and build upon that. Not just honor them in name but honor them in action," said Soriano.

"One of my father's dreams was to build the Agbayani Village and it took 40 years for another group to actually create another building with the same mentality of Agbayani Village, which is to help those in need and this is a dream come true," said Itliong's son, Johnny.

Close to a thousand people applied for the low-income housing in Los Angeles.

The rent prices for those who were able to move in will be adjusted annually based on their family sizes and income.