The Real Deal Los Angeles

Attn LA: State bill would boost affordable housing near transit stations

SB 961 would be in addition to the city's Transit-Oriented Communities program
May 15, 2018 09:11AM

Senator Ben Allen (Credit: sd26.senate.ca.gov, David Guo via Flickr)

To address the severe housing shortage in California — and Los Angeles in particular — state and local lawmakers have spent the last couple of years introducing legislation meant to encourage affordable residential development.

The latest version: A state Senate bill to boost affordable housing construction near train and bus stations.

Senate Bill 961 has cleared two committees without a single no-vote, according to Curbed.

The legislation, drafted by Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), would allow local governments like Los Angeles to spend tax money generated within a half-mile of major transit stops mostly on building or repairing low-income housing developments within that area. Major transit stops include Metro stations and rapid, high frequency bus service.

As drafted, at least 40 percent of the money allocated through the initiative would have to go toward constructing or renovating housing for households with income below 60 percent of area median income. Half of the money would have to go toward housing for households below 30 percent of AMI or permanent supportive housing for homeless Angelenos.

The remaining amount could fund a handful of capital improvements outlined in the legislation, including transit stations, pedestrian and bike facilities, parks and “greening improvements” along streets, and programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The measure is in addition to a number of local initiatives already adopted to add affordable units to L.A.’s dwindling stock.

That includes, most notably, the city’s Transit-Oriented Communities program, rolled out last September, which provides incentives to developers to build affordable housing, also within a half-mile of major transit stops.

Despite the efforts, the city is still playing catch up.

Officials determined last week that L.A. was on track to fall 4,000 units short of its goal to build 10,000 housing units for low-income and homeless residents over the next 10 years.  [Curbed] — Dennis Lynch