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Now fully permitted, outdoor market is a first for LA housing projects

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Ramona Gardens in Boyle Heights leads the way

Since at least the early 1990s, an outdoor market has popped up on Saturdays at the Ramona Gardens housing project in Boyle Heights. But until recently, it didn’t have the proper permits, which led to frequent citations for the vendors selling food and other goods (a frequent concern for street vendors, Eater LA notes).

In January, vendors made a big move, deciding to halt the market temporarily so they could work with the necessary agencies (police, the housing authority, local activists) toward legalizing the swap meet, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Community members working together were able to secure a $25,000 grant to help pay for the kinds of supplies that vendors—especially those selling food—would need to comply with health codes.

A photo posted by Ric_81 (@rickys_slr) on

Just last Saturday, the market celebrated its first day as a fully permitted event. "People can make a piece of their living without worrying if their stuff will be taken away the next day," Rev. Zach Hoover, who worked to help legalize the swap meet, told the Times.

Ramona Garden’s success could have bigger implications for other housing projects around the city. In achieving their goal, Ramona Gardens has also created, "The first legal open-air market at a Los Angeles housing project, and a model that some people hope can be replicated across the city," says the Times.