City Approves Last Round of Homeless Supportive Housing Loan Funding

Homeless man sleeping in sleeping bag on cardboard

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The final round of loans for permanent supportive housing projects funded through the Proposition HHH housing bond measure was approved by the Los Angeles City Council today.

The ballot measure approved by voters in 2016 provides for up to $1.2 billion in housing bonds for eligible projects aimed at combating homelessness.

The council on Tuesday approved about $231 million for 34 permanent supportive housing projects, and another $120 million was slated for projects chosen through the city's Housing Challenge Request for Proposals, with those projects expected to create about 1,000 units.

``Today's City Council approval of funding for a new round of Prop. HHH projects is a big step in the right direction because it means we have quality, lasting supportive housing in the pipeline for every council district,'' Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. ``That was the promise we made to voters, and I'm grateful to my council colleagues for their hard work and courage to approve these projects. I am more determined than ever to get them built as quickly as possible.''

In total, the City Council has approved funding for about 8,600 of the city's goal of 10,000 permanent supportive housing units by 2026.

``I'm very proud, and I think we're going to see a lot of successful examples moving forward ... in how we can get people housed more quickly and more cheaply, which is what this is all about,'' said Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, who chairs the council's Homeless and Poverty Committee.

The Prop. HHH Citizens Oversight Committee approved the recommendations unanimously in August.

The average cost of each unit this round was estimated to be about $502,000, with the most expensive estimated at more than $686,000. The average subsidy the city is loaning per unit is about $140,000.

City Controller Ron Galperin recently criticized the per-unit costs of housing projects, saying some cost more than the average condominium in the Los Angeles area.

During Tuesday's meeting, Councilman Bob Blumenfield reiterated statements he made in a letter last month to the Housing and Poverty Committee, saying he wished more funding had been approved for units in his northwest San Fernando Valley district.

``It didn't make the cut, and I'm disappointed,'' Blumenfield's letter stated. ``Although I've supported every push for supportive housing, we still have very few units in our district. Shared permanent supportive housing could have been opened this year.''

Blumenfield said he is appreciative of the units his district will get -- about 80 in total.

``In the west valley, we are begging ... for developers to come in and provide supportive housing,'' he said.

Councilman John Lee said there's been a misconception of his west valley district not being supportive of the homeless housing. He said that while a supportive housing project coming to his district was a ``surprise,'' he is happy to see it come to fruition.

The housing facility is proposed to include 64 supportive housing units at 10243 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Chatsworth. Some residents in the area have expressed reservations about the project, and the newly elected Lee had previously asked that the project be delayed so he could have more time to review it.

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