"People are looking at what they can do to make our neighborhoods more affordable and help more Angelenos find stable places to live," L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti told the Times.
Garcetti has been urging property owners to build secondary units, or "granny flats" as they're often called, in their backyards for years. He estimated it could create 50,000 more units if only 10 percent of homeowners would take on the challenge.
NPR member station KPCC reported on a few of the program's details:
"Up to a $75,000 loan for constructing a new unit, and up to $50,000 for converting an existing structure.
"The interest stops accruing after five years in the program, and the loan is forgiven after 10 years. ...
"[The commission] expects groundbreakings this fall and early next year, with tenants moving in by summer of 2019."
The Times also reported "the loan principal will be reduced each year the unit is occupied by a formerly homeless person and forgiven after 10 years, at which point the homeowners can do as they wish with the housing."
The pilot program seeks to take advantage of changes in state legislation that have eased local building laws and new city rules aimed at accelerating the construction of affordable housing, reported Curbed.
Homeowners would also receive rental income provided through Section 8 or other county housing vouchers, Monique King-Viehland, executive director of the county commission told KPCC. And landlords have the final on say on potential tenants, though all candidates will be screened by the commission and receive social services, reported the Times.
Los Angeles is only the latest county trying to take on the nation's homelessness crisis by inducing property owners to provide affordable housing.
Multnomah County in Oregon started a similar project last summer where four homeowners agreed to have a small unit built on their lot and pledged to provide housing for pre-screened homeless candidates for at least five years.
While city officials say that L.A.'s easing of regulations can help mitigate the housing shortage, not everyone is on board.
"Every time you add people to a neighborhood, you add a need for city services and a need for parking and all the things that come with added density," Elizabeth Pollock, president of the Del Rey Residents Association told the Times.
She wants the city to crack down and told the newspaper, "she doesn't expect the backyard homes going up near her to help the affordability crisis, because they probably will fetch top dollar in the increasingly expensive Westside neighborhood coveted by tech company employees."
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