The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a controversial program Tuesday to pay homeowners up to $75,000 to house homeless people on their own property.
The groundbreaking pilot program passed the board by a 4-0 vote.
The Los Angeles Daily News reports:
Homeowners in unincorporated communities who qualify can receive up to $75,000 to build a second dwelling in areas zoned for such structures, while others may get $50,000 to update and legalize an existing dwelling.
The program was introduced last year as part of Los Angeles County’s set of 47 strategies to solve homelessness. The office of Regional Planning will work with several departments countywide with an allocated $550,000 in part to be used to offer subsidies.
According to the UPI, which references a report by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, “California typically has approximately 118,000 people experiencing homelessness on an average night — the highest rate in the country and 30,000 more than in New York, in second place.”
Estimates show that Los Angeles is home to more than 61,000 homeless, according to a a Zillow study reported by the Real Deal Magazine, an online Real Estate News source.
The local NPR affiliate is reporting that “one in five local community college students are homeless, and a 5% rent increase will push 2,000 more people into homelessness.”
Los Angeles County officials have complained that homelessness spiked considerably in Los Angeles County since the closing of a homeless shelter in Lancaster earlier this year.
This new program, which is being slowly rolled out in the unincorporated parts of the county to minimize backlash, is the first of its kind in the country. It could pay homeowners with existing structures up to $50,000 to remodel them and bring them up to code. New structures qualify for up to $75,000, and homeowners are encouraged to build as many as three additional structures.
The county program comes after the state passed a package of laws last year to encourage the building of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) — also known as “back houses,” or “granny flats” — by overriding local zoning restrictions and easing building standards.