LOS ANGELES COUNTY FACES an affordable housing crisis. Over 57% of LA County renters pay half of their income in rent and LA County needs 551,807 more affordable rental homes to meet the current shortfall. Households earning less than half the median income are spending 70% of their income on rent, leaving very little for food, transportation, health care, and other needs.
This is, simply put, socially unsustainable. We need transformational policies and new funding sources to protect and build more affordable housing.
We Need Transformational Solutions
Move LA’s work over the past eight years has reflected a recognition that there is a reciprocal relationship between transit system success and healthy community development near transit. It is especially important that our policies ensure that core transit users, who tend to be low-income working families, are a significant share of the population near rail transit stations and bus corridors.
Transit system improvements can make neighborhoods around stations areas more desirable, which is mostly a good thing. But it can also contribute to pressures that gentrify neighborhoods and displace lower income residents. Local governments need the tools, the resources, and the courage to address these pressures. It will not be easy.
We need to develop strategies to combat displacement and to create the public resources, the authority, and the political will to ensure that new housing for low and moderate-income families is an integral part of transit station area development throughout Los Angeles County.
Sacramento’s approval of a package of housing bills in this year’s legislative session, especially SB 2 and SB 3, will increase funding for low and moderate income housing projects. Local measures for affordable housing in the City of LA and other local cities are also promising. But we will still fall short of building the affordable homes needed in LA County. We need a more robust local revenue source to fully address the housing needs of low and very low-income persons.
Move LA believes a combined annual revenue stream of $1B dollars per year for development of affordable housing in LA County from State, County, and municipals revenue sources is a goal that could enable a more robust affordable housing program. We should ensure that most of these units will be built proximate to high density transit services.
Our recommendations include:
• Adopt legislation to create more flexible conditions for cities to create Community Revitalization and Investment Authorities (CRIA) where 50% or more of tax increment funds will be dedicated for deed restricted affordable housing near transit services.
• Encourage the development of multi-family housing in mixed use projects on commercial boulevards throughout LA County, where land costs can be lower, especially along boulevards that also support high density transit, like Bus Rapid Transit.
• Seek partners to support a countywide ballot measure that provides a dedicated, countywide revenue source to fund affordable housing development equitably throughout the county (a “Measure M” for affordable housing).
• Strengthen renters’ rights, provide stronger rental subsidies, and de-couple parking from development through policy changes at the State and local level.