LOS ANGELES, CA—In a preview of a report to be released at the end of July, the research leaders of a newly announced committee drawn from the worlds of policy, philanthropy, academia, labor, business and community-based organizations presented key findings on the disparate impacts of the pandemic to the first meeting of the Los Angeles City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Recovery and Neighborhood Investment.

The Committee for Greater LA is a diverse group of Angelenos who share a vision that our region’s response to the COVID pandemic can catalyze system change and dismantle the institutions and policies that have perpetuated institutional racism. Its forthcoming report will present the data and the policy recommendations to understand this moment and the way out of it, and will advance an agenda that aims to build a more equitable L.A. for all.

“Today, the people in our streets are calling us to look squarely at what the pandemic has exposed: America’s systemic racism, and its effect on our communities,” said Miguel Santana, the chair of the Committee. “The policies and institutions that have oppressed, excluded and marginalized people of color for centuries are costing our health and our lives, and as we chart a path forward from this crisis, we must not look away.” 

In an independent report to be completed in July supported by both the University of Southern California and the University of California-Los Angeles, the committee will recommend a data-driven advocacy agenda to address L.A.’s structural challenges that reinforce disparities. Led by researchers Manuel Pastor and Gary Segura, the report will use data to define L.A.’s structural breakdowns and offer a set of solutions to advance racial equity, increase accountability, and spark a broad civic conversation about L.A.’s future.

“The goals of our report are to center racial equity, to align delivery systems that are misaligned, and to promote a new civic conversation,” said Manuel Pastor, the director of the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE). “The coronavirus is like a wildfire that has found plenty of fuel in our communities: precarity of employment and economic and social status, lack of access to health care, disparities in education and more. It’s laid bare our underlying illness— structural racism.”

“We cannot underestimate the profound danger of this moment,” said Gary Segura,  Dean of the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA. “During the 2008 financial crisis, corporate investment firms swooped in to take advantage of a housing market in deep disarray, transferring massive wealth out of the hands of Black and Brown communities. Those actions set the state for a post-COVID ‘eviction economy’—unless we see a policy response that rises to the level of the crisis and the volume of the demand for justice.”

The presentation included selections from the committee’s research examining the structural inequalities that underlie life in Los Angeles. Research presentations have included and will include topics such as the disparate impact of federal pandemic relief,  youth and educational inequities, family and child welfare, health and mental health, the housing and homelessness crises, community vulnerability and stresses and shocks to the economy and the job market. The committee has already reviewed findings from scholars at UCLA and USC as well as other policy and social science researchers, revealing stark figures including:

  • 18 percent of Angelenos are with undocumented (and thus ineligible for federal relief) or live with a family member who is; about 200,000 children have mixed-status parents, and thus can’t get federal relief through the stimulus.
  • Black people are up to three times more likely to fall out of permanent supportive housing
  • The Los Angeles region is 500,000 units short of what is needed to meet the current housing demand—leaving one-third of households in LA County rent-burdened (spending half their income or more on housing) and forecasting a potential 40 – 45% increase in homelessness due to COVID-19.
  • Nearly 46% of all jobs in LA County are at very high risk of dislocation due to the pandemic and the resulting public health orders—especially affecting Latinx workers in the Antelope Valley, East and South LA in the service, food, hospitality, and retail industries. 
  • The most vulnerable renters have only $12,000 left annually after paying 50% or more of their income towards rent, including 79% of renters in households with children, 61% of Latinx households, 45% of immigrants, and 39% of renters with less than a high school education.

“In professional and public circles, I have been speaking about the disparities of Black people for a long time. As a society, we have reached a point of no return where actions must now take the place of conversations on those inequities. We need to get uncomfortable. We need the courage to advance meaningful systems change, centered on the voices of our marginalized Black and Brown communities and grounded in racial equity,” said committee member Jacqueline Waggoner, vice president and Southern California market leader of Enterprise Community Partners. “We stand in solidarity and partnership with all who truly want to eradicate racism. This committee plans on doing everything in its power to support that vision.”

“The last decade has seen the philanthropy community reach towards equity as a guiding principle,” said committee member Fred Ali, president and CEO of the Weingart Foundation. “We’ve challenged ourselves to challenge white supremacy and overturn racial injustice. Today we are in a crisis that demands we give every effort we have to achieving equity—but which also opens the doors to make great strides, if we have the courage to take them.” 

The Committee for Greater LA includes:

Volunteer Steering Committee

  • Miguel A. Santana, Chair; President and CEO, Fairplex
  • Fred Ali, President and CEO, Weingart Foundation
  • Raul Anaya, President, Bank of America – Greater Los Angeles
  • Monica Banken, Family and Children’s Deputy, Supervisor Kathryn Barger
  • Charisse Bremond-Weaver, President and CEO, LA Brotherhood Crusade
  • Cynthia Buiza, Executive Director, California Immigrant Policy Center
  • Lian Cheun, Executive Director, Khmer Girls in Action
  • Fesia Davenport, Chief Operating Officer, County of Los Angeles
  • Debra Duardo, Superintendent, Los Angeles County Office of Education
  • Sarah Dusseault, Chair, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Commission
  • Anna Hovasapian, Legislative Director, Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez
  • Gita Murthy Cugley, CEO, Gita Cugley & Associates
  • Matt Szabo, Deputy Chief of Staff, Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Judith Vasquez, Senior Advisor to Supervisor Hilda L. Solis
  • April Verret, President, SEIU Local 2015
  • Jacqueline Waggoner, Vice President, Enterprise Community Partners                                                 

Academic Partners

  • Gary Segura, Dean, Luskin School of Public Affairs, UCLA
  • Manuel Pastor, Director, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, USC
  • Rhonda Ortiz, Managing Director, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, USC


  • Annenberg Foundation
  • Ballmer Group
  • The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation
  • California Community Foundation
  • The California Endowment
  • The California Wellness Foundation
  • Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • The John Randolph Haynes Foundation
  • Smidt Foundation
  • Weingart Foundation

The Committee plans to release its full findings in late July. Today’s presentations can be viewed at the following links: SeguraPastor. The presentation to the Los Angeles City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Recovery and Neighborhood Investment can be heard live at 2 pm June 9th, 2020 via instructions at the posted committee agenda.