LA Business Council Warns That The City Can’t Build Enough Housing Without Major Policy Changes

Council calls for sweeping reform

By Dolores Quintana

The LA Business Council (LABC) has given the City of Los Angeles a warning that progress to build more affordable housing cannot happen without making some real changes in city policies during their 20th Annual Mayoral Housing, Transportation and Jobs Summit as reported by The Los Angeles Daily News

LABC President Mary Leslie said, as quoted by The Los Angeles Daily News, “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.” 

Los Angeles produces only about 16,700 units per year, per the Regional Housing Needs Assessment. The City will need to produce 57,000 units per year to meet state enforced goals. 

It is the aim of the city to have 23,000 designated new units built as affordable housing, but realistically has only produced about 1,650 affordable units per year since 2014.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said during his keynote speech at the LABC Summit, as quoted by The Los Angeles Daily News, “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.. Can we get there? That’s a question for all of you today, and for my successor, for the City Councils that will come.”

Garcetti also said, as quoted by The Los Angeles Daily News, “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 research arm of the business council, The LABC Institute, works with the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate. The LABC Institute and Ziman Center report on the challenges and the city’s potential to produce enough affordable housing that Angelenos need. It is the LABC Institute’s hope to have that report ready before June, when the mayoral election gets underway as an instructional text to the next mayor to help whoever that may be deal with the housing crisis and formulate a real plan to deal with the issue. 

Brad Cox, the Chairman of the LABC Institute said, as quoted by The Los Angeles Daily Times, “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.”

Cox further expounded on the subject by saying “Our LABC leadership and members are committed to working with local governments to implement effective strategies to reduce the cost of new housing. This private/public effort requires innovative solutions that dramatically increase the production of new housing for all income levels. We need to provide housing that all residents of Los Angeles can afford.”

LABC did issue recommendations to the City of Los Angeles on the same day as the summit to reduce construction costs by making approvals for development easier.

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