Indexing L.A.’s Affordable Housing Crisis

The Coalition to Preserve LA, proponents of last year’s failed Measure S, which would have drastically re-made Los Angeles’s broken City Planning process, are in the weirdly unsatisfying position of being able to say “I told you so.”

Nearly everyone familiar with housing development in Los Angeles agrees that the current system is utterly corrupted, serving no one but wealthy developers and their lapdogs in City government. (Even the Los Angeles Times, a staunchly establishment Chamber of Commerce cheerleader, calls for comprehensive reform of the Planning Department.) Yet, at the last election, voters rejected “S” and re-elected in a landslide Mayor Eric Garcetti, the chief architect of our city’s housing crisis.

Many of those same voters complain about homelessness in our town, because it really is quite a nuisance and an eyesore. The squalor! At dinner parties in the better neighborhoods, civic-minded residents declare that Something Must Be Done Before It Gets Worse. Yet few of us Angelenos seem to fully comprehend why homelessness is increasing, not shrinking.

One major reason: The policies and actions of the Eric Garcetti administration. Instead of concentrating on affordable housing, our Mayor focusses on the high-end market. Yes, homelessness will get much worse in 2018, but on the bright side our city will have thousands of new luxury condominiums available for AirBnB rentals.

The gadflies at Coalition2PreserveLA have been keeping tabs on the Mayor and his bagmen. With apologies to the Harper’s “Index,” these are some of the startling numbers they’ve compiled. All sources are available on their Website:

Cost to build one unit of “supportive housing” for L.A.’s homeless: $421,433

Cost to buy a one-bedroom condo in Westlake, or a 4-bedroom house in Riverside: $421,000

With $1.2 billion in HHH bonds to work with, number of homeless units built under Mayor Garcetti: 0

Number of toilets the Garcetti administration opened in 2017 to serve 1,800 homeless people on Skid Row: 8

Cash spent by developers in 2017 to influence the City Council, the Mayor and housing officials to build more luxury housing and less affordable housing: $4.8 million

Average monthly rent on Skid Row after the City Council gentrified the area for those who can no longer afford Silverlake, Echo Park, Hollywood: $1,900

Number of the 20 new residential towers slated for South Park that will offer affordable units: 2

Affordable units planned for Westfield Promenade’s 1,400-unit Valley mega-project: 0

Number of households evicted in 2017 by L.A. landlords so they could raise rents: 1,200

Number of affordable bungalows and apartment units razed in 2017 by L.A. developers: Unknown. [City Hall doesn’t keep records on such trivial matters.]

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