Welcoming our new Managing Director, Leonora Camner

By Brent Gaisford

I’m so excited to announce that Leonora Camner is Abundant Housing LA’s Managing Director! We’re getting together to celebrate on the 28th, I hope everyone can make it. I couldn’t be prouder of all of us, and of her.

First, the reasons we all have to be proud.

This time two years ago we were a small group of people working to make LA a more affordable place to live. Now we’re a real organization, with funding and full-time leadership to help us do even more. We won an unbelievable competitive grant from LA 2050, we partnered and secured support from the biggest and most well-funded pro-housing group in the country (California YIMBY), and have begun to secure our own future with a member-funding model (if you missed it last week there is still time to join as a founding member).

More importantly than getting bigger – what we’re doing is working. The projects we support get built. After we talk to people they tend to understand the crisis and how to fix it. We’ve got thirty years of bad decisions to undo, but things are definitely getting better. It’s happening far too slowly, there’s no doubt about that. But every day there are more and more reasons to be optimistic, and we’ve got a lot to do with that.

I also couldn’t be prouder of Leonora.

She started volunteering with Abundant Housing more than two years ago as our Online Director. Just like the rest of us, she didn’t really know how to do the job. But she cared so much about the cause, and she was ready to take on something new. Within a few months, our weekly email was the most reliable and best thing coming out of Abundant Housing. That was just the first time – she’s done it again and again, taking on something new, figuring out how to do it, and getting it done. She’s one of the most dedicated people I’ve ever met, and even more importantly she’s always excited to learn.

Leonora also cares incredibly deeply about the real, human impact of the housing crisis here in LA. She worked for the Eviction Defense Network last year, where she went to court every day to represent tenants who were facing eviction. It’s an incredibly hard job. One with far more heartbreak than triumph, but she did it anyway.

Taken all together, that’s why I feel sure that we’re in good hands going forward.

Organizationally, a couple of changes are happening. Leonora will be leading the organization day to day, building greater support for the growing network of AHLA volunteers. Her work will create even more space for people to take on leadership roles in their communities and across LA County in support of housing. I’m also stepping down from my position as Director. Instead I’m taking on the job of Board Chair, and working primarily on board recruitment and fundraising. If you’d like to help out with either of those, please holler, I surely could use it.

We had nearly two hundred people apply for this job. I think that interest is a real testament to the work we’ve all done and the organization we’ve built. I also think we found the best person for the job, and that’s a real testament to her. Welcome Leonora, we can’t wait to see where you take us!

Let’s welcome her in style on the evening of the 28th at Angel City – details here.


Do We Really Need All These Cars?

By Lindsay Sturman

Housing is more and more expensive, traffic is getting worse, and we have 12 years to save the planet. But there’s one solution that no one has tried that addresses all three: build a car-free neighborhood….and it comes for the low, low price of free.    

In the run-up to The Grove’s grand opening there was a raging debate over whether Los Angeles needed “another shopping mall,” with naysayers absolutely sure it would fail. Then it opened, and…boom! Families, teenagers, couples — people flocked there, and they stayed. They may have come for the Apple Store, but they stayed because there was something you couldn’t get anywhere else: a place you can walk and explore thanks to the fact there are no cars. Which meant you could let your kids run around. You could stroll and window shop – with no noise, no pollution, no fear of death. It was instantly beloved, a huge success, and a revelation. But sadly, it didn’t start a “car-free” revolution.

Sixteen years later, maybe we can.

It is self-evident that getting people out of cars is the key to addressing traffic and climate change. It can also have a huge impact on housing affordability. We all agree we want people out of cars, but we make it inconvenient, expensive, and dangerous to live without a car (to the point where drivers and elected officials are hostileto people trying to get out of their cars—look at the backlash against bike paths and scooters). We can flip the paradigm and diffuse the opposition by zoning an entire neighborhood to be car-free.

Gamla Stan, Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden  Attribution: Aaron Zhu

Put simply, designate an area of the city to be a European-style neighborhood with no cars allowed — just sidewalks and bike paths — all within walking or biking distance to a Metro stop. We know these neighborhoods work because they exist all over the world. More than that, they are celebrated tourist destinations–think Amsterdam, Copenhagen, or Venice, Italy. People actually payto spend time in car-free places.  

Cities around the world are inching towards fewer cars or outright banning cars — London, Oslo, Zurich and Paris are experimenting with car-free city centers – and finding that citizens don’t miss the traffic, noise, accidents, and pollution. It’s also good for business; business goes up when bike lanes and pedestrian plazas replace cars zooming by – because who wants to window shop along a freeway? And for those who wantan urban existence, car-free neighborhoods offer an amazing quality of life.

Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash

The Plan for a Car-Free Neighborhood

Here’s how it could work in LA. Let’s start with an underutilized area of the city that is a candidate for redevelopment, and then change the footprint of the street to be car free— just sidewalks and bike paths (with room for emergency vehicles.) It can feel like the Venice Walk-Streets mixed with The Grove.

The new neighborhood must be located within walking or biking distance to public transportation, ideally a Metro stop.

After the city acquired the land it would be time to implement a new street design. Instead of the typical LA design of a wide street with parked cars and tons of wasted space, we’d go for narrow, walkable, and curving streets to create a sense of exploration and wonder.

Instead of this:   

How about this:

Photo by Raymond Tan on Unsplash

After the streets, it would be time to create lots. Every lot of the newly designed footprint would be pre-zoned for density and mixed-use: 4-7 stories of apartments above a ground floor of retail and businesses such as cafes, grocery stores, small businesses, and shops. Creating a dense street of stores and apartments means people can walk or bike to do the vast majority of their errands. It’s also what Jane Jacobs calls “sticky streets” – where people want to come, hang out, sit, stroll, and shop. This mix of businesses also provides local jobs which people can walk or bike to.

The neighborhood can be planned to include large and small parks, plazas, and a town square – places to gather and create community.

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

12% of Angelenos do not own a car.  We know that over 60% of millennials and 40% of boomers say they want to live in a walkable neighborhood. But we don’t make it possible, despite the fact that it’s better for the rest of us – better for businesses and the economy, better for traffic and better for the environment.

Creating Affordable Housing

Dense, mixed-use, car-free zoning also offers an opportunity to create naturally affordable housing.This is for several reasons — land cost of a building is spread over multiple units (as opposed to single-family homes on a huge lot). Revenue from first floor businesses can offset rents. Builders also aren’t paying for expensive underground parking (which can add $200 in rent per unit, not including the expense of owning a car — average cost of about $700/month). And compact apartments have substantially lower construction costs per unit.

Having the city pre-zone apartments can substantially reduce risk. Zoning battles and CEQA lawsuits from neighbors and NIMBYs can add years to get a project through the system – and the carrying costs can add another 5-10% to a project’s total cost. In addition, the risk of failuremust also be factored in: if a project doesn’t ultimately get approved, the builder can be out hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars. Multi-million dollar risk means only big developers can take on these projects, and big developers only build luxury units. So by eliminating the zoning risk, a wide variety of builders can enter the market – many of whom are more community focused, bringing new ideas and more altruistic values to our housing crisis.

By creating a flood of new housing options we can also help renters across the city. The lack of housing has driven up rents, so conversely the creation of thousands of units can stop the rise in rents, and even push rents back down. As supply increases, renters have more options, and landlords have to compete for tenants. Seattle has had a building boom and seen rents not just flatten – but seen rents go down.

What About the Cost?

Done right, a new walkable neighborhood can be built at no cost to tax-payers. Cities can opt to have outside investors buy the land and develop it; or the city can buy it themselves, re-do the street design, and then sell the lots to small builders. The city could make a substantial profit, and use a portion of that funding to subsidize affordable units to create an even more mixed-income community.

More benefits of building car-free neighborhoods:

  • Walkable neighborhoods are good for you and can prevent obesity and lower rates of heart disease.
  • Walkable neighborhoods lower crime and make cities more democratic.
  • Walking and biking are fun and lower depression.
  • Walkable neighborhoods are more accessible and offer more freedom to kids, people who can’t drive, the disabled, and the elderly.
  • Walkable neighborhoods are better for businesses.
  • No car accidents – we can achieve Vision Zero right off the bat.
  • No traffic.
  • We can address climate change at no cost to tax-payers – moving people into car-free living will instantly take cars off the streets. And it does not require Federal legislation that conservatives will resist; and it can scale up locally, nationally and even internationally.
  • It’s cheaper for cities: According to Jeff Speck, author of Walkability City Rules: 101 Steps to Making Better Places, when someone drives a car it costs the city $9.20 in services like policing and ambulances because of all the accidents and emergencies. When they walk, it costs the city a penny.
  • Done right, car-free neighborhoods can attract tourists and create jobs.

LA is a city of dreamers and doers. If we can find the political will to do a pilot, test it, and see if it works, we could start a revolution. Just think about it: if LA— the ultimate city of cars—can go car-free, anyone can.

 


Become a Founding Member of AHLA

Housing lovers / rent haters,

Two and a half years ago, when we launched Abundant Housing LA in the (now deceased) Pitfire Pizza in DTLA, we never could have imagined how much impact we would make so quickly. Thanks to the massive grassroots energy of our members, we have won major victories like defeating Measure S, passing Measures H and HHH, up-zoning the Expo Line TNP to allow  for more housing near transit, and fundamentally changed the conversation about housing affordability and scarcity in Los Angeles.

And we have done it all as a viral grassroots movement, with no staff and no budget. This organization has been member-driven from day one.
And now we are asking you, the members who make AHLA what it is, to help take our impact to the next level. 

We are up against some of the most powerful political forces in America. Michael Weinstein has used $20 million from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (that was supposed to be for HIV/AIDS care) to fight against new housing in just the last two years. NIMBYs have dominated local politics in LA and throughout California for two generations. There is a reason we are
millions of homes short of what we need – the system has been rigged against new housing by powerful entrenched interests for a very long time.
Times are changing now, in large part because of the work we are doing together. But we can’t take our game to the next level without more resources to do this work.

We have big plans for the next few years at AHLA. We recently incorporated as a 501(c)3 organization, and we are going to hire our first-ever staff member to help us continue to build this movement. We are going to build and support local chapters all over Los Angeles, and make sure that pro-housing voices have real power to make change.

Doing this requires money, and not just the few thousand dollars that a few of us have kicked in for our web tools and meetings so far. That’s why we are asking those of you who are passionate about our mission to become dues-paying members and help fuel the next chapter of our work.

Our goal is to launch this next phase of Abundant Housing with 200 dues-paying members in the next few months.

Can you join today and help us reach that goal?

We aren’t asking for big checks (although we’ll take them!) This is a grassroots movement, and we want your support at whatever level works for you. If you can do $10 or $20/month, that’s amazing. If you can do more, fantastic. If all you can give is a few bucks a year, we still want you
as a member fueling this work.

In addition, the first 200 members will be AHLA’s founding members. Founding Members will get exclusive Dingbat pins, as well as unique badges to recognize their OG status on our member forum – see below for more information on the forum and our more open communication system. Click here to see the different membership levels.

What does it mean to be a member? Because this is a mass movement, as an official member you will continue to have a vote and a say in the future of this organization. All members will be invited to our exclusive online forum where we do all of our work. We’ve been trialing the forum as the communication system for all of us volunteers who run the org for the last couple of months, and we’re excited to open it up to members as well so
that everyone can talk together. That will allow us to more openly discuss decisions, plans, interesting things happening in LA, or just have a good conversation. Members will also be able to vote on key decisions and organizational priorities throughout the year, and continue to be the backbone of our collective work together.

We are excited to build this next chapter of our movement together. Please become a Founding Member and join us today.

From all the volunteers at Abundant Housing, thank you!


Why Projects Advocacy?

by Leonora Camner

LA is in the midst of a housing crisis, and desperately needs more housing construction to combat soaring rents and homelessness. Abundant Housing LA advocates for many individual housing projects, ranging from supportive housing to market-rate housing. Some of these projects are significant, such as the 700 unit Paseo Marina, while some are as small as only 50 units.

I have been a volunteer for AHLA since 2016, and serve on the steering committee as the Online Director. With my background in housing rights law, tackling the housing crisis and getting people off the streets and into homes is my passion.

Sometimes I’m asked why we bother supporting such small projects, considering that we spend volunteer resources researching, writing support letters, and speaking in support of small projects at hearings. How will a 50-unit project impact the housing crisis, some people ask, when Los Angeles has a housing deficit in the hundreds of thousands? Why don’t we focus only on larger projects and pro-housing policies?

And all this advocacy adds up: members of Abundant Housing LA have written in support of 32,000 units of housing, including 2,400 units of affordable housing. These numbers make a difference to a lot of Angelenos. Every single unit of housing matters. A new house is a person or a family with a roof over their head.

But beyond just the numbers of new housing created, AHLA’s projects advocacy has a greater purpose. Projects advocacy is a part of our strategy for changing Los Angeles’ housing culture.

Too many people see new housing as a negative thing. They see inconvenience from construction and traffic. But in the midst of this housing crisis, more and more people are seeing housing projects as beneficial. They see tall buildings going up and associate that with the neighbors that will have space to live. They see rooms for students to study in, and rooms for kids to play in. They see kitchens for cooking meals with family and friends. They also see a reduction in car traffic, and an increase in walkability and livability. They see the clean air and environmental benefits coming their way.

Focusing on the human benefits of housing transforms something that seems like an intrusion into a change that we welcome and encourage. This is the culture that we need to have in Los Angeles if we are ever to close the housing deficit, get people off of the streets, end sprawl, and leave the housing affordability crisis behind us.

Projects advocacy is essential in attaining that new vision. At hearings for housing projects of all kinds, Los Angeles decision-makers, such as planners, neighborhood councilmembers, and city councilmembers, are used to hearing local people resist new housing. They don’t hear from the people who have been displaced from the area, or people who can’t afford to move to the area. They don’t hear from busy people who are working multiple jobs to afford rent in the neighborhood, and who don’t have time to attend hearings.

Predictably, this means that negativity around new housing is deep and pervasive in Los Angeles, and to many, that negativity represents a consensus.

However, when pro-housing advocates show up to hearings to support housing, they radically alter the thinking of everyone connected, including the decision-makers and the local residents.

Last year, pro-housing members of the community attended Abundant Housing LA’s Happy Hour > Advocacy Hour, and spoke in support of the 431 N La Cienega Ave project. People shared their diverse perspectives on housing, including their own struggles with affordable housing, their knowledge on urban planning and the benefits of density, and the history of racist exclusion behind much of single family home zoning in LA. Anti-housing community members attending the hearing were visibly moved. The project was then supported by the Neighborhood Council. But more importantly, the community’s view on housing was permanently changed.

It’s common to encounter people who genuinely cannot comprehend that anyone would support new housing. They have never encountered a sincere pro-housing vision. Without exposure to the beneficial aspects of housing, they only see development as change to resist. Through projects advocacy, our volunteers expose people to a new vision of housing. This exposure changes the dialogue on all future housing projects and zoning plans, even if no one shows up from AHLA to speak.

On top of that, projects advocacy changes the community benefits neighborhoods expect from housing developers. Currently, it is customary for neighborhoods to ask for, and receive, a “haircut” from the project, which is a reduction in the total number of units. While a “haircut” in a small project might only result in a loss of 5 or 10 units, when almost every project loses a percentage of units, this is a major reduction in housing production in Los Angeles county.

By showing up to speak in support of housing, AHLA volunteers instead ask for more humanitarian and inclusionary concessions from developers, such as an addition of units, a reduction of parking, or an increase in affordability.

Projects Advocacy is a great way to get involved with AHLA. It’s an amazing way to make an impact as a single individual in LA’s housing process. Even just submitting letters through our Advocacy Forms (sent out in our newsletters on a regular basis) is a great way to make a difference.

Imagine a Los Angeles where our neighborhoods demand more housing in planned projects. Through AHLA’s projects advocacy, maybe we can get there.


Nov 2018 Election Results

 

Race Result AHLA Endorsement Read More
Governor Gavin Newsom 60% No Position Newsom wants to build 3.5 million homes by 2025
Prop 1: housing bond Yes 54% Support CA voted to issue $4B in housing assistance bonds
Prop 2: mental-illness housing funding Yes 61% Support Prop 2 will fund housing for mentally ill homeless residents
Prop 5: property tax discount for seniors No 58% Oppose No expansion of Prop 13 for seniors who move
Prop 6: gas tax repeal No 55% Oppose The gas tax will remain in effect
Prop 10: end rent control limits No 62% No Position Expansion of rent control loses by wide margin
City of LA Charter Amendment B: public bank No 58% Support Charter amendment to establish a public bank was defeated

 


Abundant Mapping LA

by Anthony Dedousis

Abundant Housing LA supports more housing (duh) and smart urban growth across Los Angeles. Our organization exists because Los Angeles has not built enough housing over the past decades to meet demand, and we want to be part of the solution. The first step towards solving a problem is recognizing that it’s there, and we can use data to prove that the problem exists, and to visualize the scale of the problem.

Fortunately, the city of Los Angeles maintains a detailed database of all new building permits (effectively, new housing construction) and certificates of occupancy (new housing completions) issued since 2013. I pulled these datasets into R, a data analysis software package, to tabulate this information at the ZIP code level and plot it on a sweet Google Map. This allows us to easily visualize how many homes (technically “residential dwelling units”, or RDUs) have been added in different parts of Los Angeles over the past 5 years. Read on for answers to your most burning questions about housing in LA, like:

Which neighborhoods are adding the most new housing?
In which neighborhoods does NIMBY-ism have the strongest impact?
Where does dense development occur?
How have these trends evolved in 2018?
Where can we expect new housing to open in the next few years?

Let’s go to the videotape…

Figure 1a: New Building Openings by Number of Homes, 2013-18

Since the beginning of 2013, the city of Los Angeles has added 52,000 homes.  The white ZIP codes have added the least housing (0-100 homes), while the reddest ZIP codes have added the most housing (1,000-5,000 homes), with yellow (100-500 homes) and light orange (500-1,000 homes) falling in between.

A friendly reminder: most of the Valley and parts of the South Bay are part of the city of Los Angeles (which is why their ZIP codes are represented on the map), and Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Burbank, and many other cities are separate from Los Angeles (which is why their ZIP codes are not on the map).

A couple of findings that will surprise no one:

1.  Downtown LA is leading the way – it has added over 10,000 units since 2013, nearly a fifth of the citywide total.  Of the 11 ZIP codes across LA that added 1,000+ units over the past five years, four are Downtown.
2.  The Valley is not – outside of a few dense patches near Burbank, there has been very little new housing added in the Valley in recent years.
3.  Neither is the Westside or South LA – we also observe relatively little construction along the 110 in the South Bay and throughout the Westside.

Let’s zoom in for a more granular look at central Los Angeles:

Figure 1b: New Building Openings by Number of Homes, 2013-18, Central LA

This gives us a better look at some neighborhood-by-neighborhood differences:

1.  Not all Downtown LA neighborhoods are alike – within Downtown, thousands of units have been added in ZIP code 90012 (Chinatown/Bunker Hill), 90015 (South Park), 90017 (Downtown/Westlake), and 90014 (central Downtown). But the Historic Core/Arts District (90013), Fashion District (90021), Boyle Heights (90033), and Lincoln Heights (90031) have seen very little new housing come online, despite rapid population growth.
2.  On the Westside, there’s Playa Vista and there’s everyone else – despite its small geographic size, Playa Vista (ZIP code 90094) has added 2,500 units of housing since 2013 (which is third-most in LA). The Silicon Beach neighborhood has added thousands of tech jobs over the past few years, including a Google regional headquarters, and most of the 2,500 units recently added are part of a single luxury apartment complex, the Villas at Playa Vista.  The only other Westside ZIP codes that have added more than 500 housing units are Marina Del Rey (90292), and Westchester (90045).
3.  NIMBYism is fierce – many popular neighborhoods, like Venice, Palms, Westwood, Los Feliz, and Highland Park, have built fewer than 500 units in the past five years.  Not surprisingly, many of these neighborhoods are hotbeds of NIMBYism, and have experienced sharp increases in the cost of buying and renting homes.

Of the 52,000 homes added over the past five years, about 55% are in buildings with 50 or more units. These taller buildings are critically needed, in order to allow more people to live near job centers and reduce sprawl and traffic. So where in LA is dense development occurring?

Figure 2: New Building Openings by Number of Homes, 2013-18, 50+ Unit Buildings Only

As you can see, outside of Downtown and a few other neighborhoods, dense development is hardly abundant.

1.  Dense neighborhoods are fast-growing neighborhoods – the neighborhoods that are adding the most housing overall (e.g. Downtown, Hollywood, Playa Vista) are also the ones that are opening the most housing in buildings with 50+ units. It’s hard to add a significant amount of housing without building taller buildings.
2.  Zoning matters – Downtown, Hollywood, Koreatown, Marina del Rey, and Playa Vista already have tall buildings, and are able to add more, because they are zoned for denser development. If major arteries like Venice Boulevard on the Westside and Sunset Boulevard on the Eastside were upzoned, you’d likely see construction of taller buildings along those streets.
3.  Wilshire Boulevard west of Koreatown isn’t keeping up – despite the historical presence of tall buildings along Wilshire, neighborhoods like Westwood, Brentwood, and Miracle Mile are adding few large residential buildings. This highlights how important it is for AHLA to support a Purple Line Transit Neighborhood Plan that encourages dense new housing construction and transit-oriented development.

Now, let’s look at 2018 only. So far this year, Los Angeles has added roughly 10,000 new units of housing. Where has that growth occurred?

Figure 3: New Building Openings by Number of Homes, 2018

The patterns we’ve seen over the past five years have continued into 2018. Downtown (90017, 90012, 90014), Hollywood (90028), and Koreatown (90005, 90006) are responsible for 40% of the new units added this year.  No other neighborhood has added more than 250 new units.

Finally, let’s check out the number of new housing units permitted by neighborhood. The city has permitted over 13,000 new homes in 2018, and we can expect them to open in the next 1-3 years. But where?

Figure 4: New Building Permits by Number of Homes, 2018, Central LA

Interestingly, new permitted development is spread a little more evenly than recent completed development. A couple of trends to call out:

1.  Downtown is #1 no longer – the Jefferson/La Cienega neighborhood near the 10 (ZIP code 90016) permitted 1,300 units so far this year. Hollywood (90028) is in second place with almost 1,000 units permitted, and Woodland Hills (91367), Toluca Terrace (91601), and the Historic Core/Arts District (90013) round out the top five.  Only 90013 is a Downtown ZIP code; the other ZIP codes in Downtown barely permitted any new units.
2. Uneven growth within these neighborhoods – the new construction in these neighborhoods reflects the impact of a few large-scale luxury projects, rather than broad-based development. As the Dodgers could tell you, hitting a few big home runs isn’t enough to win. A couple of examples worth calling out:

Jefferson/La Cienegathe Cumulus development accounts for 1,200 of the 1,300 units permitted.
Hollywood – four buildings (the Rise, the Hollywood Cherokee, the Essex Hollywood, and 5750 Hollywood) account for 954/1,000 units permitted.
Historic Core / Arts Districtthe Perla condominiums account for all 450 units permitted.

Three things that you can take away from this joyride through Google Maps and R:

1.  Outside of Downtown and a few other ZIP codes, most neighborhoods aren’t opening or permitting a meaningful amount of new residential housing, even ones that are located close to major job centers or along Metro lines. Abundant Housing LA and other voices for smart growth won’t be going out of business anytime soon.
2.  Los Angeles needs dense development in order to add significant housing capacity. The neighborhoods that added the most housing units over the past five years did so by opening and permitting buildings with 50+ units.
3.  Restrictive zoning makes it difficult to build densely, which chokes off housing growth in most LA neighborhoods.  LA can’t grow without taller buildings, and LA can’t add taller buildings without changing outdated zoning laws. More upzoning along major road and rail corridors is needed, and Abundant Housing LA should carry that message forward as the city rolls out neighborhood transit plans for the Expo Line and Purple Line.

Remember, if you live in a neighborhood that’s not encouraging enough housing construction (i.e. almost everyone), make sure to tell your neighborhood council and your city councillor how you feel about it.  Show them these maps, and ask them why your neighborhood or city council district isn’t doing its part to make housing affordable and abundant.


AHLA Endorsements – Nov 2018 Election

 

PROP 1 – SUPPORT

PROP 2 – SUPPORT

PROP 5 – OPPOSE

PROP 6 – OPPOSE

PROP 10 – NO CONSENSUS*

CHARTER AMENDMENT B (Municipal Bank) – SUPPORT

 

*Note about Prop 10 – Prop 10 is a very broad proposition that could lead to problematic local rules. It could also help renters. We are therefore not taking a position on Prop 10. In August 2018, members attending our general meeting voted in a straw-poll on the measure, and a ‘no-position’ approach received the most support. We respect this input. Abundant Housing LA believes that Prop 10 is not a well-crafted way to address state limits on local rent control. We also know that many of our members and tens of millions of renters across the state are paying too much to rent their homes, and many view the potential for expanded rent control as a lifeline.



California: Don’t Leave America. Bring America To Us.

The Abundant Housing LA team worked on this editorial in response to the #CalExit push for secession from the U.S. Our pitch:

“We at Abundant Housing LA have a counter-proposal, one we think is both more hopeful and more plausible: Instead of leaving America behind, we should bring America to us. Our state attracts people of all races and ethnicities, genders and sexual identities, faiths and cultures. It’s something we’ve long celebrated, and rightly so. Rather than parting ways with the United States, let’s dial that welcoming attitude into overdrive. Let’s be radically inclusive. Let us be a refuge, a 21st century Ellis Island, for internal and external refugees alike.”

Read more here.

 


Help us support the proposed mixed-used development at 3700 Wilshire Blvd!

This week we need your help to support a proposed mixed-used development and provide input for LA’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance (look for the green buttons below).

In housing news, Portland has a unique new proposal that will address two challenging issues in their city: “mansionization” of existing homes, and a lack of affordable housing options. The idea is to limit the total development potential on single-family parcels, but to allow buildings to be divided into more than one unit. In other words, you would no longer be allowed to tear down a 1,500 square foot single-family home to replace it with a 4,000 SF one, but you _could_ build a 2,500 SF building with up to 3 units. You can’t buy a run-down home and turn it into a much bigger rich-person home, but you _can_ buy a run-down home and turn it into good, relatively affordable housing for 2 or more households. It’s an intriguing proposal, and represents the kind of win-win, outside-the-box thinking that AHLA advocates for. Read more here.

Help us support a development project in Koreatown

Help us support the proposed mixed-used development at 3700 Wilshire Blvd! This project will include 506 new apartments. This project will help increase housing supply and is ideally located close to transit. Write to the city of LA in support!

Send an email in support of the project with a single click

Submit input for LA’s ADU ordinance

We have a rare opportunity to improve L.A.’s rules to allow more residents to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs), sometimes also called a ‘granny flat,’ ‘backyard home,’ or ‘second unit’. These second units can help residents house their family members, earn rent to afford their mortgage, and add new housing units to help relieve LA’s housing crisis.

Los Angeles City is currently updating its ordinance that regulates ADUs in response to new state laws. This past September, Gov. Brown signed landmark Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) legislation to make it easier for property owners to build an accessory dwelling. for The state legislation will remove some barriers. Starting January 1st, anyone in California may convert any existing accessory structure (such as a garage) into a dwelling unit, as long as it meets safety code standards, has a setback sufficient for fire safety and it doesn’t exceed 1,200 square feet. If covered parking was removed by the dwelling unit conversion, it need only be replaced by parking on existing driveways or setback areas.

But it is crucial that LA pass a good local ordinance. Cities still retain some control over where ADUs are allowed, how big they can be, and parking requirements for second units. The details of the LA ordinance will determine where it is legal and feasible to build second homes.