Beyond Cathay Manor: The Interconnected Tenant Struggles of LA Chinatown

Elderly tenants of a low-income senior housing complex protest unsafe living conditions and demand accountability from landlords, developers and politicians.

Janis Yue and Amy Zhou | November 3, 2021

Chronically broken elevators, dangerous stairwells without proper lighting, a non-functional laundry room, inconsistent hot water, and cockroach infestations — this is only a partial list of the grievances named by the elderly tenants of Cathay Manor, a low-income senior housing complex that stands 16 stories high at 600 N Broadway in Chinatown. The tenants, many of whom are Chinese immigrants in their 80s and even 90s, have begun organizing powerfully to demand habitable conditions and accountability from slumlord Don Toy, chairman of the board of the Chinese Community on Aging Housing Corporation (CCOAHC) that owns the building, as well as the former chair of the Historic Cultural North Neighborhood Council (from which Toy was recently removed due to improper conduct).

The tenants are also demanding accountability from politicians such as US Representative Jimmy Gomez, Councilmember Gil Cedillo, and Supervisor Hilda Solis, implicating a vast array of community actors on a scale that has rarely been seen before in Chinatown. 

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