Rising construction costs cut into LA’s ambitious supportive housing plan

Since the $1.2B bond passed in 2016, costs have jumped to more than $550K per unit
April 24, 2019 03:00PM

Mayor Eric Garcetti and a homeless encampment on skid row (Credit: Getty Images)

The $1.2 billion in bond money that Los Angeles raised to develop 7,000 units of permanent supportive housing for the homeless is draining fast, with the funds so far only covering about half the units.

City officials say rising construction costs is partly to blame, according to the Los Angeles Times. Since the bond measure known as Proposition HHH passed in 2016, construction costs for supportive housing have jumped to more than $550,000 per unit. President Trump’s recent tax cut have also caused the federal tax credits to lose value, compounding the problem.

Today, the L.A. City Council has signed off on $809 million for 79 projects that are expected to deliver 4,120 units, the Times reported. That means it still needs to subsidize 2,880 units to reach the 7,000-unit goal.

To reach the more ambitious goal of 10,000 units by 2026 — which city officials had been touting from the beginning — other sources of funding would have to be tapped, according to the report.

The first set of projects that have already been funded by the measure are expected to be completed by December.

City officials are considering other methods that could speed up the building. Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to issue a proposal for developers to come up with ideas to build supportive housing in a way that won’t eat into more tax credits.

As a stop-gap measure, the mayor’s office has taken to building temporary homeless shelters across the county. Despite opposition from some communities, including those in Koreatown and Sherman Oaks, several shelters have already been built in Downtown and Hollywood. [LAT]Natalie Hoberman