LA has now funded 8.5K units of affordable housing through $1.2B bond

The $1.2B voter-approved program from 2016 fell short of expectations, and none of the projects has been completed

Oct.October 17, 2019 11:03 AM
A rendering of FlyAwayHomes’ HHH project in South LA and Mayor Eric Garcetti, who led the push to approve Prop HHH.
A rendering of FlyAwayHomes’ HHH project in South LA and Mayor Eric Garcetti, who led the push to approve Prop HHH.

When Los Angeles voters approved a $1.2 billion bond for affordable housing construction three years ago, city officials said it would fund the construction of 10,000 units.

This week, the City Council approved the last of the money: $358 million that will be used to build the final 2,998 units of permanent supportive housing across 38 projects, according to Curbed.

That brings the final tally of units to be built from the bond — called Proposition HHH — at 8,400 spread across the city. The projects will include on-site social services such as addiction counseling and job training.

Nearly all of the projects were funded this year, and none of the developments has opened.

While the number of total units expected to be built is 16 percent below the initial estimate, it is also more than the city’s revised estimate of 7,000 units in February.

The projects will help house L.A.’s growing homeless population. More people are living on city streets and in shelters — an estimated 36,000 as of June — as the area’s affordable housing crisis deepens.

About a third of the bond money has gone to winners of a county-run Housing Innovation Challenge, a competition to devise ways to build affordable housing at a lower cost than traditional methods. Winners included FlyAwayHomes and Community Corp. of Santa Monica, which utilized a pre-fabricated housing construction.

The bond funding almost immediately came under scrutiny as projects started to roll in, and it became clear that the units funded through the program would run way over budget.

The increase in cost and the slow pace of development — only 1,260 units are currently under construction — prompted L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin to audit the program this year. In a report released this month, he found the increased construction costs, regulatory barriers and a long and expensive permitting process were mostly to blame. [Curbed]Dennis Lynch 

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