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Complicated Housing Plan Also Targets You, Middle-Class Renter

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The exact details aren't hammered out and it's slightly confusing, but it's also a new approach to tackle the housing problem in LA: It's the $5 billion, five-year plan for housing for Los Angeles, a proposal unveiled today by Mayor Villaraigosa at a press conference at the Wilshire/Vermont Station. And by confusing, we mean a lot of reporters were spotted running around at the end of the press conference, asking the press secretaries for exact details, i.e, where's the money come from, where's it going? How this will all shake out isn't clear yet, but here are 10 facts gleaned from the 40-page plan. Notably, this isn't just about affordable housing, but about middle-class housing. Yes, this affects you, dear renter. Or, hopefully it will affect you when all this new housing is built and you can stop spending half your salary on rent.

1. Initial funding of $1.7 billion. Part of that money comes from a $700 million investment from Enterprise Community Partners, a national nonprofit community development and affordable housing company founded by the late Jim Rouse (actor Ed Norton's grandfather). The rest of the money from a $1 billion pool (money that either exists or is in the pipeline) from four housing groups: LA Housing Department, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, the Community Redevelopment Agency, the LA Homelessness Services Authority.

2. Those four groups, as well as the Planning Department, are behind this entity, now called Housing That Works.

3. Since (some? all?) of the development problems in LA are due to the fact that there's not one agency overseeing development in the city, Helmi Hisserich, Deputy Mayor for Housing & Economic Development Policy, calls the banding together of these groups significant. "It's been a longstanding problem getting all the departments to work together."

4. Villaraigosa hopes to collect a total of $5 billion (including that initial $1.7 billion) for the program via private partnerships.

5. One interesting nugget gleamed from research done by the Housing the Works project is that the majority of housing developed in the last 15 years in Los Angeles has been for very poor people or moderately wealthy people, with less development targeted at anyone who makes a more middle-class salary. Quote from the study: "...little is being built for...households earning between $25,000 and $75,000 per year." This program hope to build both so-called middle class housing (called work force housing), as well as affordable housing.

6. The plan creates 20 transit district plans in 5 years, ie., development along public transit corridors. These plans target Metro stops:
---Along the Gold Line Extension in LA
---Along the Exposition Line in South LA
---More transit district plans will be decided later on

7. As part of the plan, 20,000 units will be built across the income spectrum.
----2,200 units for chronically homeless
----8,8000 units for residents making up to $29,000 a year
----3,800 units for residents making $29,000-$42,000 a year
----2,600 units and another 2,6000 units for individuals and families making between $42,500-$90,000 a year; and $52,000-$90,000 a year, respectively.

8. The city is proposing a new citywide mixed-use incoming housing ordinance to require that developments of a certain size have affordably priced units. As part of this, there are number of flexible options and incentives for developers, ie, like allowing developers to provide land or cash in lieu of developing housing on site.

9. Other programs would reduce homelessness via new units and by expanding Section 8 vouchers for homeless.

10. Limit the loss of rent-controlled housing.