Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Neighbors condemn Airbnb’s entry into social interest housing

In the Santa María la Ribera neighborhood, Dr. Neighbors of the building located at No. 269 of Ethel Street have condemned that this condominium, classified as “Social Interest Housing” -Achieved at low prices and with subsidies for services such as water and land to support residents- A accommodation was enabled that is now offered on Airbnb,

“It is an association of social interest, built in the early 20th century, classified as artistic heritage and inhabited by low-income people, including many older adults and single mothers, who are aware of the fact that It is thanks to them that they acquired a space with a program of the National Fund for Popular Rooms (phonehapo)”, explains R, a neighbor of the property, who prefers to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

In 2020, one of these apartments was sold to a person unrelated to the families benefited by PhoneHapo. It is currently offered through the Airbnb platform, which has caused discomfort among condominium owners due to strangers entering the building and the new owner. Install security cameras in common areas,

“The thing is, besides, the owner is a person What has he given to scare the neighbors? With the argument that he comes from a family of businessmen who have a lot of money, and he wants to fix everything that way. When a collective claim was made for the cameras he had installed—which point to the central courtyard and corridors of the condominium—we initiated a reconciliation process before the Social Attorney’s Office (Prosoc), but he did not appear and Video surveillance equipment is still out there”, point.

In addition to complaints about the installation of cameras, R mentions that the owner of the apartment renovated the property without a permit from Fine Arts, a fact for which he was denounced before the relevant authorities and fined. Thereafter, relations with him became more hostile, and he replied to dissidents that they spoke to their lawyers whenever inconvenience was claimed.

Jay, a neighbor of Dr Ethel 269 for 44 years – and who also requested anonymity for fear of retribution – is one of the residents upset by the modifications made by the owner of the apartment that now houses tourists. “As a woman, I feel disturbed because before this person came, our building was very safe, but now I feel, and as a mother and grandmother of women, I do not feel that any stranger Who knows what’s recording us for”.

“Tourists come and go, but they are completely unknown, and he is not there as the owner, and he did not formally inform the administration that he was renting the place. creates problems of coexistence and trust between J.

Read: “From one day to the next we’re disposable”: Expansion of Airbnb-type housing in CDMX drives out residents of downtown areas

Even for H., another neighbor who asked not to be named, the cameras are invasive, forbidding her to let her son go out into the yard to play outside, in addition to the fact that -she says- she Fears for her son’s safety due to unknown people coming as guests. Like other neighbors Explains that complaining to the authorities is uselessAnd it’s only increased tensions with the owner of Airbnb.

“He is very arrogant, in fact I am afraid that one day he will do something to me, or that he will abuse videos of my son or other children playing in the yard. We feel very insecure because every eight On days, at least, strange people come and go, and well, whatever situation arises, neither the owner nor the hosting company will take charge of it”, he laments.

taxpayer subsidized business

According to the PhoneHapo website, through the Housing Support Program, the federal government “subsidizes Mexican families in poverty conditions, with incomes below the welfare line, with a lack of quality and spaces for housing”, through which They receive subsidies, such as property and water payments.

Through this fund, residents of Dr Atl 269 were able to buy apartments in which different families have lived for generations, R explains that “although the architecture is spectacular, this is a popular neighborhood acquired through social housing programs, as established in the actions of each apartment.”

“At some point in history this neighborhood was owned by a single owner, but tenants bought it through this loan and social benefit incorporation regime was established for low income people. It is not fair that as taxpayers We are paying for something in order to make a profit, because those of us who live here are people who, although in some cases we have higher education, live with uncertain wages. It gives me courage that popular life in this Attracts a classist and conflictual attitude of sorts”, R.

“What you are doing is wrong, because taxpayers are the ones who are subsidizing airbnb, when this money should be going to support low income people, people who really need to live in neighborhoods like this.” needed, and are not getting 1,300 pesos a night to accommodate who knows who,” he says.

It may interest you: “There will be no more gentrification or revolution”: citizens oppose the agreement between CDMX and Airbnb

On stage, this accommodation is offered with the promise of “living a true Mexican experience”. Recently renovated with Porfirian architecture, it is located in a building that is more than 150 years old, located in the heart of the Santa María la Ribera neighborhood, where artists live and the local and authentic atmosphere still breathes.

Dr Atl 3

Since the announcement by the capital’s head of government, Claudia Sheinbaum, about the agreement signed by Mexico City with Airbnb and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), academics, activists and residents of various neighborhoods have warned that The Lodging Company in the development capital has made housing more expensive and caused evictions of tenants as the apartments they rent are being converted into short-stay housing.

In some cases, such as the case of residents of the Vizcaya building on Bucarelli Avenue, the owners have organized to prevent the apartments from being rented out to tourists. In others, tenants have not suffered in the same way as at the Victoria Building on Lopez Street, where the owners had already warned them that they would have to vacate the property, as it would henceforth be rented out through Airbnb. But will be taken.

In Dr Atl 269, R and J point out that organized neighbors will continue to struggle if the Airbnb host agrees to, at least, remove the security cameras – although this is one of the elements with which it is promoted. – And to integrate communication channels between tenants, so that they can improve coexistence and trust. they can’t do any more Since nothing restricts that this place of social interest can be rented out,

H isn’t sure she’ll stay to fight for a nicer neighborhood environment and more security in a condominium. With mixed feelings, between anger and sadness, he says he’s considering moving to another place where he won’t be inconvenienced, even though he knows it means giving in to pressure from the Airbnb owner, Which – according to who he has told them – is expected to create more departments to include them in the platform.

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