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New Affordable Housing Projects On the Horizon in 2018

But Will They Be Enough for L.A.?
January 9, 2018
Affordable housing is expected to get a boost this new year with the expected groundbreaking of eight affordable housing projects as a result of funding form Measure HHH.

The legislation, which stands for the Homelessness Reduction and Prevention, Housing and Facilities Bond, passed in November 2016 and is designed to help pay for housing for those who are homeless.

A total of nine projects have been awarded funding through Measure HHH so far.

The first groundbreaking for a project under Measure HHH took place last month in East Hollywood. It will bring more than 180 affordable and permanent supportive housing units to the area, according to Joel John Roberts, PATH CEO.

The first floor has administrative offices and services with all of the buildings centered around a town square, Roberts said. It is expected to be completed by next year.

This particular project, which is being built in two phases, is significant, according to Roberts.

"It’s a big milestone for the city of L.A." Roberts said.

It is a $54.27 million project, yet more Measure HHH housing is badly needed, according to Sally Richman, public information officer and manager for the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department.

"The housing we’re building is for people who really need that help and have been on the street for a long time," Richman said.

Another advantage HHH offers is the process for allocating funds. Measure HHH funds move more quickly and occur more often than L.A.'s existing Affordable Housing Trust Fund pipeline process, according to Richman.

However, Richard Green, director of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate said that Measure HHH is not enough to combat the homeless problem in the region.

"It’s too few units to make a dent," Green said. "In L.A. County, there are 3.5 million housing units, and we’re talking about a couple of thousand units through HHH, and I think that’s optimistic."

He noted the solution is to change zoning laws.

"Double the density," Green said. "I mean, I don’t know if it can be doubled, but substantially expand the density that’s allowable under zoning. We have very underutilized assets which are boulevards throughout Los Angeles that have low-density buildings on them. There’s no other city in the world that’s L.A.’s size that has such little density."

Los Angeles needs more supply to help keep rents from increasing and to actually help rents fall, according to Green.

"We need a lot of vacancy, and in the absence of that, we’re not going to solve this problem," Green said.

Despite this, Richman said the city must continue to expand what it is doing where affordable housing is concerned.

"Proposition HHH gives us a lot more money to do that," Richman said. "We have to expand from where we are. It’s $1 billion over 10 years, so that’s huge. That more than doubles the amount we’ve had to spend on affordable housing in recent years."

She said affordable housing has been a problem locally since the late 1970's, which was the impetus for driving the rent control movement in some cities, including Santa Monica and West Hollywood, as well as statewide.

Aside from the PATH Villas project, the other eight Measure HHH projects are slated to begin construction this year.

They include: the Six Four Nine Lofts, 88th and Vermont located at 8730 S. Vermont Ave., McCadden Plaza Youth Housing at 1136 N. McCadden Pl., Casa del Sol located at 10966 W. Ratner St., FLOR 401 Lofts at 401 E. Seventh St., RISE Apartments at 4060 S. Figueroa, SP7 Apartments RECAP at 513 E. Seventh St. and The Pointe on Vermont at 7600 S. Vermont Ave.

The Six Four Nine Lofts, which will be located at 649 S. Wall St., will break ground next month, according to Richman.

Measure HHH pays for up to 50 percent of each development, but the developers must then find other sources to fund the rest, noted Richman.

All nine of the developments will bring a total of 615 new affordable housing units to Los Angeles. Out of that number, 440 will be permanent supportive housing for those who are homeless, and the remainder, 175 housing units, will be for very low income renters and managers who live on site, Richman said.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has set a goal of building 100,000 new, affordable housing units citywide by 2021.

Karen Jordan, Los Angeles Market Reporter  CoStar Group   
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