Villaraigosa Announces $5 Billion Housing Plan for L.A.

As many a 20,000 housing units could be built or preserved, say officials.

By Alice Walton, City News Service

A five-year plan to build and preserve 20,000 housing units throughout the city of Los Angeles at a cost of $5 billion was unveiled last week by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Housing officials say the plan represents the first time that the five city departments responsible for housing — Community Redevelopment, Planning, Homeless Services Authority, Housing and the Housing Authority — have come together to create a master plan for the city.

“The focus of this plan is to create more housing choices within every community of Los Angeles,” said Helmi Hisserich, deputy mayor for Housing and Economic Development Policy.

“We want to have a more mixed-income community. There’s a lot of evidence that will tell you that having a mix of incomes in a community is a very good model for a healthy city.”

Of the 20,000 units, 2,200 will be for individuals who are chronically homeless; 8,800 will be reserved for families with an annual income less than $29,000; 3,800 will be for families making between $29,000 and $42,000; 2,600 for families making between $42,000 and $52,000; and 2,600 units for families with an annual income between $52,000 and $90,000.

“This city’s economic success and vitality depend on our ability to plan for a future of sustainability and stability in our housing market,” Villaraigosa said. “This plan lays the building blocks of housing our middle class can afford and takes the first steps toward building housing that works for all Angelenos.”

While new housing has been built throughout Los Angeles, there is an over-concentration on high-end apartments and condominiums, and a severe shortage of housing for low- and moderate-income Angelenos, Hisserich said.

“The focus of the plan is to chart a course for producing housing across the income spectrum,” she said.

The initiative will be financed over five years with $1 billion from existing city resources. The remaining $4 billion will come from low-income housing bonds, tax credit equity, grants and private sector loans.
Enterprise Community Partners, which earlier this year announced a $100 million trust for affordable housing in Los Angeles, has committed $700 million for the initiative.

“Enterprise is pleased to step forward as an early and major partner in this effort to create fit, affordable and sustainable homes for all residents of the city,” said Doris Koo, president and CEO of Enterprise Community Partners.

The plan also proposes a Sustainable Communities Initiative, which is intended to spur development near Metro rail stations and bus routes. Ten transit-oriented district plans are in the works for stations along the Gold Line Eastside Extension and Expo Line, and the city plans to fund another 10.

Over the next five years, the city also plans to replace the Jordan Downs, Nickerson Gardens and Ramona Gardens public housing complexes in South and East Los Angeles.

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October 9, 2008  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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