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Map of JEPWA’s geographic focus for Community Land Trust


Elias-Deen Zadi, President. Full time college student majoring in Political Science with plans to become an attorney specializing in Labor Unions become a social worker. Multilingual: English, basic Korean (can read and write as well), some French, and enough Spanish to help with basic forms. Volunteer work includes delivering food for Hunger Action LA and canvassing.
Zerita Jones, Co-Executive Director. Long time community advocate, co-founder of Liberty CLT. Founder of Baldwin Hills, Leimert Park, Crenshaw Tenants Union. Life long resident of South Central LA and much loved in The Community. Volunteer work includes produce and meal distribution at Chesapeake Apartments.
Susan Park, Treasurer and Secretary. Founder of Asian Americans for Housing and Environmental Justice. Long time community advocate focusing on in-language culturally competent support for Asian Americans and BIPOC. Bilingual, English/Korean. Bad polyglot: some Spanish and some French. Knows a lot of food terms in a dozen languages, enough to purchase and distribute culturally relevant foods for constituents.


Michael, Community Stakeholder. Bilingual Korean/English. Michael was born in Busan, South Korea. His mother died when he was 7 years old. He was adopted at age 12 along with two of his three younger sisters by a White American family; his youngest sister was adopted by a family in Korea. Michael experienced another devasting trauma after he was adopted. His American parents barred him and his sisters from speaking Korean. He repeatedly told his adoptive parents to send him back to Korea. He taught himself Korean again as a young adult. He has been homeless most of his adult life.

Eddie Lee, community stakeholder. Bilingual English/Korean. Eddie was born and raised in Los Angeles. He became homeless in 2022 when he collapsed from diabetes related causes. He was unable to care for himself. He was fired from his clerical job at a Korean American business. His landlord called an ambulance to take him to the hospital. Eddie woke up suddenly homeless and unaware of his tenant’s rights.

Why we are motivated to operate a Community Land Trust.

Elias-Deen grew up working in his family’s restaurant, Revolutionario North African Tacos. He witnessed a friendly neighborhood landlord, Tom, became green with greed when real estate developers approached him about selling the property that housed Revolutionario. After that, Tom kept raising rent on Elias’s parents including the small apartments his family rented upstairs from the restaurant. His family was eventually displaced by another landlord who purchased the building as a speculative investment. As the student housing bubble near USC burst, the new landlord sold the building to an institutional investor who wanted an empty building.

Zerita has already successfully started another CLT, Liberty CLT. Gentrification, real estate speculation, and Opportunity Zone development in South Central LA has caused rent increases that have instigated another round of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asians getting displaced and unhoused in South Central LA. As a long time advocate for tenants, she understands the power of organizing and the power of home ownership that a CLT can bring to The Community.

Five years ago, Susan learned of Ellendale Apartments near USC. The building used to house section-8 Korean seniors for over 40 years until the landlord got greedy. As the seniors passed away while living at Ellendale, the landlord would place the units on the marketplace for USC students and not on the marketplace for section-8 housing. USC students were charge 7 times that of what the Korean seniors were paying. As the mother of a college attending daughter, she felt that this was unfair to all involved. She could see USC students struggling with high rents. Several of her USC student customers told her that they were couch surfing or sleeping in a friend’s garage. Susan also met a lot of unhoused seniors because of the rent increases in the area. They could afford $300 or $500 for a room from their social security. But they couldn’t afford a $1200 or $1600 room that exceeded their social security benefits.