LA Business Council Urges Policy Reforms For LA To Meet Housing Goals

MacArthur Park Los Angeles

Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles Business Council called today for the city to make sweeping reforms to meet its goal of creating nearly 500,000 new residential units by 2029.

The City Council unanimously approved the Housing Element Update 2021-29 last year as a guide that lays the groundwork for creating 456,643 new units, with at least 184,721 being affordable for low-income households.

During its 20th Annual Mayoral Housing, Transportation and Jobs Summit on Wednesday, the LABC urged officials to make major policy changes in order to meet that goal.

``The City Council deserves great credit for setting an ambitious goal to bridge the housing shortage and related affordability gap that is widening by the day, but without significant reform and a blueprint, that goal will not be met,'' LABC President Mary Leslie said.

Los Angeles will need to produce 57,000 units per year to meet the goal, but since 2014, it has been producing only about 16,700 units per year, according to the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, a process required by the state that aims to ensure cities and counties plan for enough housing.

The city is aiming to have 23,000 of the new units designated as affordable, despite only producing about 1,650 affordable units per year since 2014.

``We voted through something that will now set an honest number of 457,000 units of housing in the city of L.A. That's like a San Fernando Valley being built on top of our L.A.,'' Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday during his keynote speech at the LABC's summit. ``Can we get there? That's a question for all of you today, and for my successor, for the City Councils that will come.''

He added that to put the number in perspective, ``if we were still building the same number, and permitting the same number of housing units per year as when I started (in 2013), it would take us 60 years to get there. Sixty years to do what we have to do by 2029.''

The LABC Institute, the research arm of the business council, is working with the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate to report to the city on obstacles and opportunities to produce enough affordable housing to meet demand. The institute aims to present the report before the 2022 mayoral election as a way to give the city's next mayor a formula to drive down affordable housing costs.

``Since the onset of COVID, the nation's housing supply has experienced a severe upheaval with a dramatic change in supply and demand across virtually every geographic market in the country. Los Angeles is in serious need of solutions that will effectively deliver large quantities of new affordable and market-rate housing in a short time frame,'' said Brad Cox, chairman of the LABC Institute.

``Our LABC leadership and members are committed to working with local governments to implement effective strategies to reduce the cost of new housing,'' Cox continued. ``This private/public effort requires innovative solutions that dramatically increases the production of new housing for all income levels. We need to provide housing that all residents of Los Angeles can afford.''

On Wednesday, the LABC issued some recommendations for the city to bring down the cost of housing, including streamlining the approval process.

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