[SENIOR MOMENTS] Our Housing Crises

The election on March 7th will propose additional solutions for our city’s ongoing concern about housing construction not keeping up with population growth.

We are confronted with high homelessness counts, scarcity of affordable housing, gentrification and a low apartment vacancy rate—less than 3%, a record low.

Los Angeles is now ranked as the most unaffordable city in the country, with over 60% of tenants paying more than 30% of their household income for rent. This includes our growing older population, often living on fixed income, making them more vulnerable to homelessness.

In our November 2016 election, we passed two measures (HHH & JJJ) supporting construction for more housing in Los Angeles. For the March 7th election, Measure H and Measure S offer two more solutions.

Measure H, placed on the ballot by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, focuses on services accompanying the construction of housing for the homeless. With a one-quarter percent sales tax, it will invest $350 million a year for 10 years to provide homelessness prevention services, supportive services for mental health care, job training and facilitating permanent housing for people. It needs a two-thirds vote for passage. This measure is widely supported.

Measure S is about the city’s need to reform their land-use process, which hasn’t been updated for the past 20 years. This measure enacts a two-year moratorium on the development of real estate projects that require a General Plan amendment, zone change or increase in allowable height. There would also be a permanent ban on General Plan amendments for any property less than 15 acres.

For supporters, this would slow-down some new development until the city updates its plans that dictate what can, and what cannot be, built in a neighborhood.

But Measure S would have unfortunate consequences too.

The moratorium would restrict the construction of much needed new housing, and the development of affordable housing projects on underutilized land not currently zoned for housing, such as a parking lot, defunct public building or strip mall that could be turned into housing.

In response to concerns raised by the measure, the Los Angeles City Council has recently voted to speed up the approval of new community plans and to update all 35 of them every six years, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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