Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson proposed Tuesday that all city-owned land designated for housing be used to build affordable units.
“We are in the midst of a crisis and need to pull out all the stops to develop more affordable housing across Los Angeles,” Wesson said. “There are thousands of underdeveloped city-owned lots, close to transit lines that are ideal for new affordable housing.”
His motion will initially go before the council’s Housing Committee, where it is expected to be heard in the coming weeks.
According to Wesson’s proposal, Los Angeles has the second-least affordable housing market in the United States, behind only San Francisco, which he said can be attributed to under-building of affordable housing in Los Angeles County.
Wesson’s office said Los Angeles County has a housing shortfall of nearly 520,000 units affordable to the lowest-income renters, and there are more people who qualify for affordable housing and are rent-burdened than there are affordable properties. A 2017 study found that just a 5% increase in median rent would push about 2,000 more Angelenos into homelessness, Wesson’s office stated.
“It’s not enough to just build more units, we have to build more affordable units,” he said. “This motion will ensure that we are using these lots in the most productive way to get folks off the street and ease the rent burden for those on the brink of homelessness.”
The motion referenced Los Angeles County’s Housing Element and the Southern California Association of Governments’ allocation of more than 82,000 homes to the city in its last eight-year housing report, 57% of which are to be available to very-low to moderate-income residents and 43% to be available for above-moderate-income level occupants.
By the end of 2018, the city had met 210% of its allocation for above moderate income housing, but only 20% for very-low and low-income units.
Wesson said because of the slow pace at which the city can build affordable housing, it is critical to make its land for housing entirely for affordable units.
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