Los Angeles Forced to Streamline Affordable Housing

Los Angeles (and 468 other California cities) will be forced to reduce housing regulations to speed up approval of future housing developments. This penalty is relatively new, but the drawback is based on a long history of state-regulated development policies.

The History of California Housing

In the 1970s, California faced a statewide housing shortage. To make matters worse, experts predicted the shortage would grow into an unfixable problem if something didn’t change. For this reason, California demanded that all of its cities create a housing plan every five to eight years. This practice held cities accountable for building housing for the ever-increasing population.

The custom has continued for four decades and is still in effect today. The most recent plans created by California cities were implemented in 2014. Four years ago, every city was asked to hit a housing development mark by 2021. Each city’s target was divided into two separate categories: housing priced above moderate income and housing priced below moderate income.

4 years later, only 13 California cities are on track to hit their housing goals for both categories. For this reason, California is penalizing cities that fell behind by forcing them to lower their housing regulation standards.

The Fall of California Development Standards

California Senate Bill Number 35 was created to ensure that California cities were implementing enough housing for lower-income citizens. The bill was made to streamline housing development projects that included affordable housing.

How the bill affects a city depends on the city’s track record for creating housing. If a city is falling behind in building housing developments for people with above moderate income, California is forcing the city to streamline housing development projects that include 10% affordable housing.I If a city is falling behind in approving housing developments for people with under moderate income, California will force the city to streamline housing development projects that include 50% affordable housing.

Los Angeles has stayed on track in creating housing for above moderate income earners; however, it has failed to keep on track in building affordable housing. Therefore, Los Angeles will be forced to streamline projects that are at least 50% affordable housing.

Los Angeles Affordable Housing Developments Are Coming

Since Los Angeles made its housing goal in 2014, the city has permitted 45,820 units, but roughly only 1 in 10 have been in the affordable range. In fact, Los Angeles is way behind its percentage schedule for affordable housing. In regards to moderate housing units, Los Angeles has only approved 5% of their total housing goal. In other words, the city has to approve the other 95% of moderate housing units in just 4 years. This translates to L.A. approving well over 40,000 affordable units by 2021 to hit its ultimate goal. Only time will tell if Los Angeles can beat the odds and hit its mark, but California is ensuring that developments are built.