Nuestrohood: Public Housing Neighborhood Effects on Women of Color in Los Angeles County

Date of Award


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First Advisor

Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez


Public housing residents are an understudied population, especially women. Studies have demonstrated the importance of women maintaining and supporting the family unit and as community leaders, but most has focused on individual racial groups rather than interethnic relationships. The changing demographics of the projects, especially in California, make it important to study how these different racial/ethnic groups live together in the same community. Through interviews of 10 Latina and Black women with or without children over the age of 18, this study seeks to find how DBV neighborhood characteristics have affected the women that come to live in the housing developments. Findings suggest that neighborhood violence and the lack of resources have shaped the women that live in public housing. All of the women in the study learned to manage their living situations by first filling in the motherhood role, even though some don’t have children. Through this role they were able to create defense mechanisms; alienation and avoidance to protect themselves from dangerous situations. Their limited interaction does not result in the women not protecting each other through collective efficacy and altruistic behaviors they have learned to depend on each other and idea of informal control mechanisms to help hinder the negative effects their neighborhoods have on them.


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