• June 25, 2024

Innovative Strategies to Increase Housing

Innovative Strategies to Increase Housing

Innovative Strategies to Increase Housing 150 150 CVillacorte

The Los Angeles region’s tight rental market and landlord discrimination – both legal and illegal – often make it difficult to rent an apartment, even with a subsidy.

Los Angeles County’s Unit Acquisition strategies, which include master leasing and landlord incentives, are an innovative way to create more housing opportunities for people experiencing homelessness, in part by leveling the playing field.

The effort so far has resulted in more than 1,050 apartment units being acquired with a minimum near-term goal of securing 1,700 units for individuals and families.

The initiative focuses on leveraging the entire capacity of the private rental market by finding available rental apartment units or entire buildings and then securing multi-year master leases or other agreements that provide landlords with assurances that apartments will be maintained. Efforts also focus on working with landlords to overcome misperceptions or biases toward people who want to rent an apartment but are experiencing or previously experienced homelessness.

Advantages of Unit Acquisition include:

  • expedited access to market rate buildings and units, allowing the system to house more people more quickly;
  • reduction in traditional barriers to accessing housing in the private rental market, including incarceration and eviction histories or challenges related to credit, employment, or income, and;
  • increased opportunities for developers and property owners not currently engaged with the homeless services system to participate in solutions while also helping to ensure their properties’ financial stability and long-term viability.

The unit acquisition effort is aided by public and private partners. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and nonprofit service provider PATH offer landlords a suite of programs that provide them financial guarantees and their tenants the care and case management services designed to prevent them from falling back into homelessness.

LAHSA also administers the master lease, essentially becoming the landlord to oversee tenant selection and managing costs associated with vacancies, any damage to units and evictions.  These costs can include security deposits, property management expenses, maintenance, insurance, on-site security and pest control.

These projected expenses received an important boost in March 2023 through financial commitments from managed care plans L.A. Care Health Plan and Health Net.  About half of their $114 million investment is set aside for the unit acquisition program.

Funding from Measure H supports rental subsidies and supportive services for participants through time limited subsidies. Measure H funding also supports intensive case management services that are paired with these newly secured units and permanently end someone’s experience of homelessness.

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