City to Toss Out Zoning and Environmental Rules to Speed Homeless Housing

GUEST COMMENTARY--The LA City Council’s approval of a homeless housing law that ends environmental review, eliminates height/density restrictions in many areas, and ends public hearings, will fail to stem the growing homeless crisis.  

The "Permanent Supportive Housing" ordinance misses the point entirely. It wipes out public debate and environmental protections while failing to address Mayor Garcetti's over-the-top $430,000 cost to build a single unit of homeless housing.
In effect, the City Council today voted to speed up their overspending per housing unit, while failing to reform their own actions that fuel homelessness.
The Coalition to Preserve LA urges the City Council and Garcetti to wake up and immediately take actions that attack the causes of LA's surging homeless numbers: 

  • City Attorney Mike Feuer must prosecute developers who wrongly evict working-class renters under the Ellis Act. Aside from a few cases, Feuer is missing in action. 
  • The Mayor and City Council must stop relentlessly approving luxury housing via "spot zoning," which is gentrifying and destroying communities from Boyle Heights to Fairfax and forcing people into the streets. 
  • Put the full weight of the mayor behind repealing Costa Hawkins, a state law that protects rental prices only in apartments built before 1978. 
  • Produce the elusive list of vacant city buildings that can be turned into homeless housing far more cheaply than new construction. It is unconscionable that the Garcetti Administration doesn't know where LA's vacant buildings are. 

City leaders say the Permanent Supportive Housing ordinance approved by the City Council today will speed up construction of homeless housing from five years to one.
That's only a reform if the city isn't just more quickly burning up the money, ruining the environment and ending legitimate public discussion.
(Ileana Wachtel writes for 2preservelaand is an occasional contributor to CityWatch.)