The Los Angeles City Council approved a motion Wednesday to direct all city departments to report on the feasibility of using land they own to create temporary or permanent homeless housing.
The motion was introduced by Councilman Kevin de Leon in January as part of his “A Way Home” initiative to create 25,000 new homeless housing units by 2025.
“The city owns an enormous amount of land throughout its almost 470 square miles of territory. While much of this land is utilized for libraries, parks, police stations and fire stations, a sizable amount of land is unused or underutilized,” the motion stated.
The motion noted that previous reports have shown that not much city land is available for use, but the city should look through “a new lens that is focused solely on the technical and financial aspects of building homeless housing — not future uses or plans.”
Council members also directed the Department of General Services to evaluate leases of city facilities to determine if they can be modified to provide space for homeless housing. In addition, they directed the Department of Recreation and Parks to report on all of its parcels that are not restricted for park purposes.
The motion calls for the reports to be submitted to City Council within 30 days.
Using city land would allow officials to sidestep the costly and time-consuming nature of acquiring land to house people in Los Angeles.
In January, de Leon unveiled his A Way Home plan, which involves several motions that aim to revamp city policies and change regulations that hold up housing unit construction.
“Sadly, our great city has lacked what I call a `Northstar,’ a clearly defined objective, and a timeline for achieving that objective. By introducing a comprehensive plan, we are providing a way for the people we represent to hold us accountable for delivering results,” de Leon said.
The City Council has approved two “A Way Home” motions so far:
— a motion to have the Department of Building and Safety, in coordination with several other departments, develop an expedited permitting process for projects building the most amount of permanent supportive and affordable housing;
— a motion to have the Bureau of Engineering, in coordination with several other departments, create a limited set of standard plans for modular multi-family homeless and affordable housing, bungalow courts and accessory dwelling units;
Other motions introduced as part of the initiative include:
— having the Housing and Community Investment Department report on the creation of a Renters Relief Registry, which would include a ranking system to score applicants;
— having the City Council adopt the creation of 25,000 new units by 2025 as the city’s homeless housing goal.
— having the chief administrative officer and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority develop metrics to determine if hotels and motels can be turned into temporary and permanent homeless housing;
— having various departments evaluate how other California jurisdictions have developed design standards for shelters;
— having the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department report on Proposition HHH-funded projects’ status and how it compares to their status when they were awarded letters of commitment; and
— having the city attorney report legal options for withdrawing letters of commitment for Proposition HHH-funded projects.