Long Beach must build 27K housing units by 2030

State housing goal calls for additions to stock to relieve overcrowding in 17K homes across city

Long Beach (LBPT), Construction
Long Beach (LBPT)

Eight years ago, the state called on Long Beach to build 7,000 homes, a target it missed by 40 percent. Now the city must construct nearly four times that amount by 2030.

The City of Long Beach just released a state-mandated plan to build 26,502 housing units over the next eight years, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported.

That nearly quadrupled its 2013-2021 allocation of 7,048 units, of which the city built 59 percent, with just 17 percent of the required affordable units.

City officials say the greater housing burden is a result of a new state formula for calculating the housing element, or number of units it must plan according to the state.

While population growth was once the benchmark for setting housing goals for each city, the new formula is based on overcrowded housing. So each city must build enough units to relieve packed households.

In Long Beach, about 17,000 households experience overcrowding, which will require nearly 27,000 new homes to unpack them.

“People might be doubling or tripling up in housing units in order to afford a household in our community,” Alison Spindler-Ruiz, the city’s advance planning officer, told the newspaper. “That difference is really just based on our overcrowding data.”

The city has not built enough housing for decades, she said. And now it’s scrambling to catch up.

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A new policy to encourage micro-unit housing, as well as a new ordinance to require new projects in Downtown and Midtown to include affordable housing, may nudge the needed construction, officials say.. Other strategies are being considered to spur growth.

“Many things are out of the city’s control; we don’t own land for building housing anymore,” Spindler-Ruiz said. “So actual construction of housing is largely out of our hands. It’s done by private owners and developers.”

“There are many factors in the city’s control,” she added, “and we’re going to need to continue to look at any and all strategies that are within our control.”

The state’s housing element, a policy document designed to remove regulatory barriers to creating new homes, expires Jan. 31, 2023.

The state wants to zone for 2.5 million new homes by 2030 to help solve its housing crisis, more than double its goal from the last eight-year cycle and four times as many residences than were built during that period.

Long Beach faces state penalties in 2030 if it falls short. They include losing funding for transportation, infrastructure and housing projects, or losing land-use control.

[Long Beach Press-Telegram] – Dana Bartholomew