- Los Angeles County supervisors have voted unanimously to set aside up to $100 million a year to construct and maintain affordable housing, with the amount potentially scaled back if the economy take a turn for the worse, the Los Angeles Times reported.
- The housing fund, proposed by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Mark Ridley-Thomas, will start with $20 million next year, and the county’s annual contribution will increase over the next five years until it reaches $100 million.
- The decision comes in the wake of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s much-publicized goal of adding 100,000 units of affordable housing by 2021. Recently, Garcetti announced that he is entertaining a plan that will impose new developer fees to help subsidize affordable housing in the city.
The Los Angeles area has a homeless population of 44,000, and Kuehl said the housing fund is just one piece of a plan to address the issue, according to the LA Times.
Supervisor Don Knabe, expressing concern about the county’s other financial obligations, proposed the city put 20% of excess money into the fund each year instead of a specific dollar amount. He said this would ensure the county could continue to contribute to the fund and other housing programs as well.
Knabe ended up voting in favor of the housing fund but argued that other supervisors were "taking numbers out of the sk"” and didn’t know how they would actually pay for the plan. "The most important piece of all this is sustainability," he said.
Ridly-Thomas said, "The objective is to get moving and moving now on building more affordable housing, and the formula, the methodology can and will be worked out. We are not moving fast enough keeping up with the crisis that has enveloped us."
Los Angeles has been in the throes of a housing crisis. Plenty of luxury and market-rate units are being construction, but affordable housing has been left mostly out of the mix. Unfortunately, wages have not kept up with housing costs, so increasing the city's inventory of affordable housing is considered critical.
Earlier this week, an official with the 2024 Los Angeles Summer Olympics exploratory committee said Los Angeles' Olympic Village could be converted to residential units post-Olympics, helping to ease the affordable housing crisis in the city.