Besides investing in programs to prevent and combat homelessness, Los Angeles County is also continuing to chip away at the affordable housing shortage, one of the primary drivers of homelessness.
With the region’s dire affordable housing shortage of 500,000 units leaving many people on the brink of homelessness, Los Angeles County is pursuing three P’s:
- Production of new affordable housing;
- Preservation of existing affordable housing; and
- Protection of tenants and related supportive programs, including pathways to home ownership.
Affordable Housing can include public and private housing developments as well as “scattered site” housing in the open market. Tenants receive rental subsidies and other support to help them obtain housing and stay housed.
The Board of Supervisors approved a comprehensive affordable housing plan in 2015 and 2017 that currently invests $100 million every year to build and rehab low and very low-income housing. They also passed motions that established the Affordable Housing Programs Budget Unit, Affordable Housing Coordinating Committee, and the Affordable Housing Outcomes Report. All were consolidated into the Homeless Initiative in 2021.
The County uses a variety of tools to increase the housing stock for people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.
- Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool (FHSP) and other funding that enables the Departments of Health Services and Mental Health to build Permanent Supportive Housing
- Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) issued by the Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA) multiple times a year to finance capital projects, including new construction, and acquisition/rehabilitation
- Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) loans and grants to develop affordable housing along with transit improvements, supplemented by State and federal funding.
- Metro Joint Development, which involves partnering with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and qualified developers to build transit-oriented developments on Metro properties
Innovating Housing, Repurposing Assets, and Maximizing Land Use
The County encourages the creation of innovative housing models and accessory dwelling units (ADUs), and repurposes its own assets, including building a recuperative care village at its LAC+USC hospital campus.
Policies and Programs to Preserve Existing Affordable Housing
- Affordable Housing Preservation Ordinance
- Community Land Trusts (CLTs)
- Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA)
Data and Analytical Tools to Assess Affordability and Access
- Affordability Watch Database
- Tracking Regional Affordability and Challenges to Tenancy (TRACT)
- Equity Explorer
Affordable Housing Outcomes Report
In partnership with the nonprofit California Housing Partnership, the County Chief Executive Office released the Sixth Affordable Housing Outcomes Report in August 2022. Due to pandemic-related challenges in data collection, this report relied on 2019 demographic, gap, and cost burden analyses as well as the 2020 Point in Time homeless count. It also incorporated data that showed changes in rent during the pandemic, and that compared renter ability to make rent payments by household income.
The report concluded the County needs to add approximately 499,430 affordable homes to meet the current demand among renter households at or below 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). Even though the shortage of affordable homes remains large, this shortfall is 82,393 less than in 2014. This decline in shortfall may be partially attributed to a slight decrease (half percent) in the number of lower-income renter households, as well as regional efforts to increase access to affordable housing.
The report also identified an inventory of 133,909 federal, State, and County-administered affordable homes and tracked efforts to protect renters during the pandemic, including nearly 28,757 County-administered rental subsidies, as well as American Rescue Plan Act and Project Homekey investments.