Alarmed by Los Angeles County’s dire shortage of affordable housing units, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan aimed at raising as much as $100 million annually to build or preserve such units for low-income and vulnerable populations.
The County currently has a shortage of 527,000 affordable housing units, and an estimated 44,000 people homeless on any given night.
Acting on a motion by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Board voted to create an Affordable Housing Program that would be endowed with $20 million in July and grow incrementally until leveling off at $100 million by 2020.
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said increased public investment is critical to alleviating the affordable housing crisis, because every $1 invested by Los Angeles County attracts about $4 in matching funds from private developers. Such collaboration has helped build almost 2,000 affordable housing units in the Second District since 2009.
“The lack of affordable housing has created a toll on hundreds of thousands of Angelenos – it’s put many on the brink of homelessness and jeopardizes our residents’ quality of life,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.
“The current pace of public investment is simply insufficient,” he added. “We can meaningfully address this crisis, but so will require a comprehensive strategy and scaled-up investment, which must be implemented with urgency.”
“The remedy for homelessness is homes,” Supervisor Kuehl said. “We need to prevent families from falling into homelessness by providing affordable workforce housing and we need to provide rapid avenues back to permanent housing for those who do fall into it.”
In addition to supporting the creation of permanent affordable housing, funds would also go towards rental assistance, rapid rehousing, shared housing, move-in assistance, and related services for individuals and families.
While there will be a focus on low-income families, seniors, homeless individuals and families, other vulnerable populations that would benefit from the increased investment include youth aging out of foster care; adults and youth exiting the justice system; veterans; those with physical disabilities; domestic violence survivors; and a broad range of individuals who are frequent users of County health and social service programs.
“We need to be realistic about the amount of investment that is required to meaningfully address the housing crisis,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “We must be thoughtful, but we must be audacious. And we must move with urgency.”