LA County Supervisors Approve $15 Million for Affordable Housing

The preservation and creation of affordable housing has been a longstanding goal of both Los Angeles County and many of its 88 cities, but the demise of redevelopment agencies delivered a blow to low-income residents struggling in one of the nation’s most difficult housing markets.

On March 5, 2013, acting on a joint motion by Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas and Supervisor Gloria Molina, the Board of Supervisors unanimously reaffirmed the county’s commitment to providing permanent housing for low-income residents.  The Supervisors transferred $15 million to the Community Development Corporation for affordable housing in Los Angeles County.

Supervisors Gloria Molina and Mark Ridley-Thomas had urged the board to set aside $75 million for five years, $15 million of which would be allocated this year.  However, because of the uncertainties of economy and potential budget issues, the Board members voted to decide about allocating the remaining $60 million until the annual budget process.

Supervisors Molina and Ridley-Thomas urged the balance of the board to dedicate the total amount available to affordable housing.

“I am advocating for and committed to affordable housing having top priority consideration for the use of these resources,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “On any given night in Los Angeles County, over 50,000 homeless individuals live on the streets. The majority have untreated illnesses or disabilities, so affordable housing can and must be the priority. It has implications for our communities and workforce dynamics.”

“I think what’s important is that this is not money that should be allocated in a different direction. I’m hoping we’re not going to layer this with all kind of other competing interests,” said Supervisor Molina.  Affordable housing advocates cheered passage of the motion, noting the significant challenges they face since the dissolution of redevelopment agencies.

Representatives from 15 organizations testified in support of the Motion by Supervisors Molina and Ridley-Thomas, including Century Housing, Corporation for Supportive Housing, for-profit and not-for profit developers Abode Communities, A Community of Friends,  American Communities,  the Cesar Chavez Foundation, Hollywood CHC, LINC Housing, New Directions, Palm Communities, Thomas Safran & Associates, West Hollywood CHC, the City of Pasadena, and the Executive Directors of SCANPH and Shelter Partnership.

This action follows the October 2012 commitment when, in response to a joint motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Zev Yaroslavsky, the Board unanimously approved $11 million in funding for affordable housing projects that is expected to result in approximately 176 new units.

This places Los Angeles County right behind the City and County of San Francisco in dedicating ‘boomerang’ funds made available by the dissolution of redevelopment agencies to continued funding of affordable housing.