Thinking Outside the Box to Address Homelessness

The Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative announced the winners of the first-ever Housing Innovation Challenge, a call for proposals that has awarded $4.5 million in Measure H funding for game-changing creative and scalable permanent housing solutions for those experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County. The Housing Innovation Challenge has made four awards at the $1 million level and one at the $500,000 level for faster, cost-effective construction/rehabilitation and/or creative finance models to produce permanent housing for the County’s most vulnerable residents.

Housing Innovation Challenge Winner United Dwelling depicts garage conversion rendering.

At a time of heightened collaboration in the region, this effort was designed to activate stakeholders and creative strategists across the region to contribute sustainable solutions to homelessness. The Challenge received more than 50 proposals, which were evaluated by a panel of experts in urban planning, real estate development, affordable housing and architecture. Each awarded project will result in the production of permanent housing for homeless families or individuals in Los Angeles County.

“Everyone who calls Los Angeles home should live in communities that afford them dignity and worth,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “These novel yet practical solutions will allow the County and its private sector partners to scale up compassion and innovation in a thoughtful manner. This is truly Measure H at work!”

Housing Innovation Challenge Winner “Restore Neighborhoods Los Angeles” depicts accessible units with equity participation from neighbors in South LA.

The funded projects are:

  • Brooks + Scarpa Architects, Inc. – NEST: A Prefab Modular, Sustainable Kit of Parts that can be assembled on any typical 50 x 150 parcel ($1 million)
  • Flyaway Homes, LLC – Modular Permanent Supportive Housing Communities, to scale their model of leveraging private equity to develop supportive housing faster and at ¼ the cost per person ($1 million)
  • LifeArk, SPC – LifeArk Micro-Communities, a kit-of-parts building system that is developable on any lot size or shape ($1 million)
  • United Dwelling – Detached Garage Conversion into Affordable Studios, for its institutional development of beautifully-designed garage-converted Accessory Dwelling Units ($ 1 million)
  • Restore Neighborhoods Los Angeles – South LA Bungalow Project for its neighborhood shared equity model for accessible units built by-right in a traditional bungalow style courtyard ($500,000)

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas shows off the three winning projects that will be built in the Second District of Los Angeles County.

“The Challenge was issued at a critical juncture in the Countywide movement to combat and prevent homelessness,” said Phil Ansell, Director, L.A. County Homeless Initiative. “While our collective efforts are moving in the right direction, this was a unique opportunity to solicit new approaches and continue to advance our efforts to help people move from homelessness to housing.”

Three of the winners –Flyaway Homes, United Dwelling, and Restore Neighborhoods — plan to implement projects in the County’s Second District. Meanwhile, another winner, Brooks + Scarpa Architects, is headquartered in the Second District.

To view the winning submissions and honorable mentions, visit


Winners of the Housing Innovation Challenge join Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and L.A. County Homeless Initiative Director Phil Ansell. All photos by Dave Franco / Board of Supervisors