Diane Lefer: Slum housing has a negative impact on residents’ health–even when the building doesn’t collapse on top of you while you sleep which is what happened to some tenants of slumlord Frank McHugh. But today, more than 3,000 low-income families enjoy better health and almost as many now live in improved housing thanks to the Healthy Neighborhoods, Same Neighbors Collaborative, a groundbreaking partnership among community organizers, grassroots nonprofits, and tenants from South Los Angeles and downtown, all working in coordination with city and county agencies, legal professionals and health care providers.
A toddler wakes up with a cockroach lodged in his ear. Cat-sized rats chew through the feeding tubes of a young girl with cystic fibrosis. Conga lines of roaches parade through a house in broad daylight. Leaky pipes and constant moisture breed vast colonies of mold. Inadequately maintained plumbing backs up, causing overflows of sewage. [...]