Are You a Street Vendor?

Supporting Street Vendors

As founding members of the Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign (LASVC), ELACC is proud to work alongside our partners to advocate for our community’s microentrepreneurs and help them build strong businesses. Services we currently offer our street vending community include:

Permit Assistance

Our team helps street vendors navigate the permit application process in order to obtain a permit legally to sell food. Give us a call at (323) 859-8050 for more information. 

Tax Assistance

Our team assists street vendors with free tax preparation, including obtaining an ITIN. Give us a call at (323) 859-8050 or schedule an appointment:

Small Business Microlans and Lending Circles
Advocacy Work

For nearly 15 years, ELACC has been on the front lines of the street vending litigation movement. In 2013, ELACC and our partners, Inclusive Action for the City, Public Counsel, and the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, officially launched the LA Street Vendor Campaign. This citywide effort led to the legalization of street vending in 2018, and a statewide policy that decriminalized street vending throughout California. But the fight is not over, ELACC continues to work closely with our partners to advocate for our community’s street vendors. 

Vending in a Global Perspective

Street vending is engrained in the economic and cultural fabric in Latin America, Asia, and Africa that dates back centuries. It is estimated that street vending covers approximately 1/5th of the “third world” economies and rivals the formal economy. Street vending is a women-led industry. 

In 1980, the United States Refugee Act granted asylum to hundreds of thousands of Central American refugees, many of whom settled in Los Angeles and became the majority of the city’s street vendors. Urban cities such as Pico-Union, MacArthur Park, and South Central Los Angeles embraced the new immigrants, becoming the core communities of street vending. 

From 1980 to the 1990’s unemployment increased. Undocumented individuals joined the ranks of the poorly-paid, unskilled labor workers in the lower hierarchy. Sidewalk vending increased as a mechanism for survival. 

In 1995, the first pilot program to legalize vending failed. Of 8 selected areas to legalize vending, only 1 in MacArthur Park was created 4 years later. The city lost funding, vendors lost trust, limitations were too extreme, and only 14 permits were issued during the year of existence. 

Vendors began to organize due to consistent harrasment from DPH, LAPD and Sherriffs, continual confiscation of goods and technical equipment, displacement and debt. Vending became classified as a misdemeanor creating a new negative identity for vendors as criminal. The fear incited continued to grow with worries of incarceration and deportation. 

The Formation of the LA Street Vendor Campaign (LASVC)