Median home prices in Los Angeles and Orange Counties have risen again. Photo from Pixabay.
Photo from Pixabay.

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a blueprint for housing development over the next eight years Wednesday, adopting a policy that lays the groundwork for nearly 500,000 new housing units by 2029.

The 2021-29 Housing Element Update revises the plan adopted in 2013.

“The housing crisis is one of the biggest and most pressing issues facing our city,” Council President Nury Martinez said in a statement following the vote. “While other cities have pushed back against their building obligations, our city has embraced this opportunity to develop one of the boldest housing plans in the nation and we hope to not only meet, but exceed, this challenge.”

City planners said the goal of the update, titled “The Plan To House L.A.,” is to provide an ample supply of housing that creates more equitable and affordable options for Angelenos; to preserve and enhance quality of housing and provide greater stability for households of all income levels; to create healthy, sustainable and resilient communities that improve the lives of all Los Angeles residents; to foster racially and socially inclusive neighborhoods; and to commit to preventing and ending homelessness.

Los Angeles needs to produce about 57,000 units per year to keep up with housing demand, but since 2014, it has been producing only about 16,700 units per year, according to the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, a process required by the state that aims to ensure cities and counties plan for enough housing in their Housing Element.

Additionally, it needs about 23,000 new affordable units per year, but only about 1,650 affordable units have been produced per year since 2014.

The Regional Housing Needs Assessment determined the city must accommodate at least 456,643 new units by 2029, with at least 184,721 of them being affordable for lower income households.

According to Martinez’s office, the Housing Element approved Wednesday will allow for rezoning various areas in the city, clearing the way for construction of 250,000 housing units within three years. The plan also includes “anti-displacement strategy studies, eviction defense programs, inclusionary zoning studies” and a focus on rezoning “higher opportunity areas” near jobs and transit, allowing increased densities in areas previously limited to single-family-only uses.

“The Plan to House LA is designed to protect the most vulnerable Angelenos from displacement, eviction, and homelessness,” city Planning Director Vince Bertoni said in a statement. “It centers racial equity and environmental justice at the forefront of our planning considerations, aligning Los Angeles’ citywide land use strategies to improve future access to housing, preservation, and production.”

According to Martinez’s office, the city will now have three years to create ordinances that put the plan’s policies into effect.

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