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;
- Prevention 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 with subsidized rent for low-income households; and “scattered site” housing using federal rental subsidies.
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, as well as other State and federal funding.
- Metro Joint Development, which involves the Metropolitan Transportation Authority partnering with qualified developers to build transit-oriented developments on its properties
Housing Innovation, Asset Repurposing, and 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
According to the 2021 LA County Annual Affordable Housing Outcomes Report released by the nonprofit California Housing Partnership, LA County and partnering local jurisdictions helped developers and service providers leverage state and federal resources to create more than 120,000 affordable homes by the end of 2020, representing a 4% increase from its 2019 inventory of affordable homes.
The report added that investing locally controlled funding into affordable housing production, preservation, and rental and operating subsidies, and promoting the adoption and use of pro-housing policies such as density bonuses, all contributed to reducing the affordable housing shortfall, which is now 82,393 units fewer than in 2014 but remains significant.
Without factoring in the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that disproportionately affected lower income households, the report concluded LA 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.