Continuing his commitment to expand the local housing stock, Mayor launches effort to implement a “linkage fee” creating new local funding for affordable housing
Mayor Garcetti today announced that Los Angeles is well on its way to meet his goal of building 100,000 new housing units by 2021, reaching almost 30,000 new permitted units as of September 2015. Speaking at the Mayoral Housing, Jobs, and Transportation Summit hosted by the Los Angeles Business Council (LABC), Mayor Garcetti detailed a bold package of strategies to double the production of affordable housing, including his support of a “linkage fee” on market rate development that would create local, flexible funding for affordable housing. To incentivize production, he also signed Executive Directive No. 13, directing city departments to expedite case processing for housing development projects with more than 20 percent of units dedicated as affordable.
“Los Angeles is benefiting from record high levels of development but it comes at a high cost as more and more residents feel squeezed by record low rates of affordability” said Mayor Garcetti. “With state and federal funds declining and disappearing, and more residents falling into homelessness, the time for our City to lead on this issue is now. A home is a right, not a privilege.”
At last year’s LABC summit, the Mayor announced his goal of permitting 100,000 new units of housing by 2021 to help meet the City’s growing demand. As of September, the City is exceeding its timeline to meet that goal with 29,750 units permitted. This strong progress is set to continue with approximately 37,000 units in the Department of City Planning’s entitlement pipeline.
Today, the Mayor also set a target of building or preserving at least 15,000 units of affordable housing from 2013 through 2021. To reach this, he announced his support for launching a housing linkage fee study that would create a new, dedicated local source of funding for affordable housing activities which, according to the last study done by the City in 2011, could raise between $37 and $112 million annually. Mayor Garcetti also called for the City to continue contributing at least $10 million annually from its general fund for affordable housing activities.
The linkage fee study would be handled by a new housing policy unit within the City’s Planning Department that would also lead the development of new zoning initiatives to encourage the development of mixed-income housing around transit. This is one of several development reforms the Mayor called for in his executive directive. In the last year, the Mayor has also implemented several efforts to reduce barriers to development by launching parallel design permitting, which gets shovels in the ground while plans are finalized; introducing Saturday building inspection service, so homeowners don’t have to take time off to wait for permit clearances; creating a concierge service at the City’s development service centers, to guide applicants through the permitting process; and expanding counter plan check services, where engineers are available for walk-in, face-to-face, building plan check review.
The Mayor has made housing affordability for all Angelenos a major policy priority. His administration has tackled this issue by raising the minimum wage, protecting housing stock through seismic retrofits, strengthening the housing safety net for individuals that fall into homelessness, and protecting renters against illegal rent increases and evictions.