Industrial Housing Complex Exterior

Housing

We are going to stimulate the greatest housing boom in the history of Los Angeles with a few critical changes to existing housing regulations, mutually beneficial public-private partnerships, a major marketing campaign to promote private investment in affordable housing, and reasonable, but necessary taxes that generate sufficient revenues for the city to exponentially increase affordable housing production. These housing policies are the most innovative ever proposed and represent an unprecedented opportunity for the city to not only meet affordable housing goals, but to stimulate a true urban renaissance in Los Angeles.

10 Step Plan for Affordable Housing

  • 1. Establish a major marketing campaign to inform people about existing affordable housing policies (ADUs, SB9 and SB10). Increase access to financial, legal and other resources for minority property owners to invest in and construct affordable housing on their own properties to earn additional income and increase property values. With over 750,000 residential properties containing between 1-4 housing units, only a small fraction of owners would need to construct ADUs or other dwelling units onsite to substantially increase the affordable housing supply. Decentralizing affordable housing production and empowering local and minority development of affordable housing is the most equitable way of increasing the affordable housing supply.

  • 2. Centralize all housing authority within a new technology-based Housing Development Department for highly streamlined financing, permitting, construction and management processes. Include a housing planning department that pre-approves architectural plans for traditional, prefabricated and modular housing so that plans can be easily replicated and reused to substantially expedite affordable housing production. Overregulation and inefficient bureaucracy has significantly harmed affordable housing production and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. A technology-based housing system will reduce the time and cost of affordable housing production, and will increase public transparency and access to affordable housing resources.

  • 3. Reduce or eliminate regulations that prevent the rapid conversion of office, retail and industrial properties to housing. With vacancy rates increasing across most commercial property types as a result of Covid, small business closures, and work-from-home, these properties can and should be converted to housing. These conversions will substantially reduce the time, cost and environmental impacts related to affordable housing production and will contribute to a more dynamic, urban, walkable, healthy, sustainable and integrated city. Every opportunity to expand the housing supply without new construction is good for the city, good for the environment and good for taxpayers.

  • 4. Legalize co-living and live-work housing in any location, allowing long-term room rentals in single-family and multi-family dwellings. The number of existing bedrooms in Los Angeles (over 5.5 million) far exceeds the population of Los Angeles (4 million). This simple change could result in the immediate availability of tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of existing bedrooms in addition to stimulating new industries for affordable housing.

  • 5. Work with the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the California State Public Employees Retirement System (CalPRS) to substantially increase their investments in affordable housing in Los Angeles. CalPRS and CalSTRS can easily fund thousands of affordable housing units every year. CalSTRS and CalPRS should require that local affordable housing be a core part of their real estate investment strategy in order to protect the long-term viability of their unions and to ensure that their own members have access to local affordable housing. The political and economic risks to their unions increase with every day that the affordable housing shortage continues.

  • 6. Establish a law giving the government a "right of first refusal" to purchase any rent-controlled property (over 4 units) sold in the city in order to preserve the existing affordable housing stock, which is critical to maintaining housing stability for low-income individuals and families. In the event government does not exercise its right of first refusal to purchase a particular property, the government would provide free legal advice to renters in such property to ensure their legal rights to rent-control are not violated following any transfer of ownership.

  • 7. Increase transfer taxes on multi-million dollar property sales like other cities have done throughout Los Angeles County and California. This increased transfer tax could generate hundreds of millions of dollars to directly fund the acquisition of existing affordable housing and provide legal protection and financial aid for renters in rent-controlled housing. Every renter in every rent-controlled housing unit will be provided free legal advice to protect against unlawful evictions. This legal investment is probably the best investment of public resources the government can make because it prevents homelessness and all of the social ills and widespread suffering that result from homelessness, which end up costing the government far more than the cost of free legal advice.

  • 8. Provide attractive incentives for companies that locate prefabricated and modular housing production facilities within Los Angeles city limits so long as they use local labor and pay union wages. The prefabricated and modular housing industry is one of the fastest growing and most important industries in the world. Establishing local companies will be critical to the long-term viability of the local economy and will reduce transport and fuel costs related to housing production, ultimately resulting in decreased housing costs.

  • 9. Establish vacancy tax for all vacant apartments, condos and homes to increase the rental housing supply and increase tax revenues (exclude low-income and non-profit owners). Provide affordable housing tax credits and cash incentives for any owner of any vacant housing that converts such vacant housing to affordable housing. This system gives property owners the choice between financial benefits and burdens, with either choice benefiting the city. Vacancy taxes will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding for rental support programs and increased affordable housing availability will reduce homelessness without the need for any new construction.

  • 10. Rezone all industrial areas of the city to allow for 100% affordable housing in addition to existing uses. Build thousands of affordable housing campuses similar to emergency housing, but with private rather than shared living spaces. In these new industrial housing zones, restrict commercial uses to small businesses and non-profits by restricting the size of commercial spaces to less than 10,000 square feet. Industrial areas will be the source of an urban renaissance, creating affordable, walkable, green, community-centric villages within the city and supporting both industrial and small business job growth. Allow developers to build as much affordable housing as they are able, so long as that housing is and remains 100% affordable.

Q10: What about public housing?

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Q1: How will you create permanent housing?

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Q2: Will you use local labor?

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Q3: What are the potential job opportunities for people?

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Q4: How will you fund affordable housing?

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Q5: How will the public infrastructure be maintained?

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Q6: How quickly can you complete affordable housing?

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Q7: Has this kind of policy been successful elsewhere?

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Q8: Where is the inspiration for your housing policy?

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Q9: How critical is housing for political success?

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Q10: What about public housing?

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Q1: How will you create permanent housing?

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The leaves which have fallen to the ground are no less leaves than those which remain on the branches of the tree. In this way, those who have fallen from the tree of society are no less human than those who remain attached.
-Asher Luzatto

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Paid for by Asher Luzzatto for Mayor 2022. 249 E Ocean Blvd., Ste. 685, Long Beach, CA 90802. Additional information is available at ethics.lacity.org