LA’s density bonus program isn’t creating enough affordable housing: report

L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin (Credit: LA City)
L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin (Credit: LA City)

Los Angeles needs to step up its wooing of market-rate developers to build affordable units, according to a new audit from the city controller’s office.

The current density bonus program, enacted in 2008, has yet to churn out a substantial number of affordable units. Only 329 income-restricted apartments were built within market-rate developments between 2008 and 2014 as a result of the program, which allows developers to build denser projects than what the zoning code allows, the report found.

It’s a “low number,” City Controller Ron Galperin told Curbed. “That’s not nearly enough.”

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to TheRealDeal Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

While 21 percent of all multi-family units constructed in that time period technically used the program, only a fraction were in market rate projects — not enough to make an impact, Galperin said. Most of the 4,000 affordable units designated probably would’ve been built without the density bonus program because they used other affordable housing incentives.

Galperin’s office recommends taking further steps to entice developers, including allowing them to build bonus housing on another site and loosening the income restriction to qualify for the affordable units.

The report comes in anticipation of Measure S, better known as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, which would suspend all developments that seek zoning or general plan amendments. [Curbed]Cathaleen Chen