Steven Luftman was born and raised in Laurel Canyon, Ca . Aside from a 10 year stint in New York, he has resided in Los Angeles his whole life. He was an Art Director in Advertising professionally, but his experience with eviction pulled him into working as an activist for historic and housing preservation. Before he was evicted, Steven was a vintage race car driver and racer a 1978 Crosslé Formula Ford. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and going to live music shows.
Before being Ellis Acted from his Beverly-Grove apartment of 19 years, Steven deeply appreciated the format of the neighborhood he lived, where his grandparents had lived across the street, where he had gotten his first hair cut as a boy, where walking to the grocery store was viable. The old charm and court-yarded format of his building made knowing and communicating with neighbors an easy and enjoyable experience. During his residency in the apartment, Steven watched his neighborhood be developed in an anti-social way, against the historic architecture of the existing buildings and which dislocated long-standing members of the community. When he initially received the Ellis Act, Steven’s initial response was to historically preserve his beautiful building, in which he succeeded. However, was still forced to leave due to a condominium conversion.
“It felt devastating. It was devastating and yet I was saying ‘we’re going to fight this,’ from the very beginning I said ‘there’s no way I’m just leaving.’ I can’t have it on my conscience that I could have done something that would have saved our home and not do it, so that’s why I fought it. So we went in and refused to leave. We also wrote a historic cultural monument application which would protect the building. I was hoping if he couldn’t tear down the building, then he would have let everybody stay. So that didn’t quite work out. It worked out in that we saved the building, which is half of what I wanted to do. I feel like I helped save this neighborhood, and directly in the area that is considered a historic neighborhood, no buildings have been torn down yet which I feel is an achievement.”