Driving Innovative Housing Solutions

A driving narrative around affordable and supportive housing centers on the average cost and time to develop. While there are fixed components to the development process that impact cost, such as price of land, we know that there are opportunities to inject innovation into the construction process to drive down costs in other ways. But creative design is not enough, it must be paired with policy changes that streamline development timelines to build faster and open the door to new housing concepts with the potential to scale.

Affordable Housing Initiative

Using best practices learned through our Accelerating Permanent Supportive Housing  competition, this is an initiative to develop small-scale, long-term affordable housing for L.A. County residents with low and extremely low incomes, including those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. These apartments will be rent restricted to ensure long-term affordability.

In partnership with Gensler , we developed small-lot, shared housing models that can be replicated at scale. We are launching a private capital loan fund, managed by our partners at Genesis LA to support the acquisition, pre-development, and construction.

The estimated impact of the initiative’s first phase is:

  • 10 developments built using improved construction methods
  • 12 months saved on construction timeline
  • $218,000 development cost reduction per person
  • $6,000 saved annually in rent

The first phase of fundraising is open and is expected to close by December 2021.

Accelerating Permanent Supportive Housing

In Spring 2019, in partnership with public, private, and nonprofit leaders, and with the generous support of the Spiegel Family Fund, we spearheaded the Accelerating Permanent Supportive Housing (APSH) competition, which asked applicants to propose innovative models that reduce the time and cost  to produce at least 1,000 units of supportive housing without sacrificing quality.

Nearly three dozen applications were received from for-profit and non-profit housing developers and we awarded $5M in predevelopment and recoverable funds to support 16 bold housing designs creating 1400 supportive housing units over the next two years 

The selected housing models utilize small lots, modular construction, and streamlined financing, allowing for faster and more cost-effective construction. The cost was ~40% less than the $500k average for recent supportive housing developments.

Learn More : Investigating Housing Models for Accelerating PSH Production, Year 2 Report

L.A. City Housing Solutions Team

In November 2018, the Proposition HHH Citizens Oversight Committee released recommendations to increase the scale and speed of supportive housing development, after finding that the city’s “decentralized approach” greatly slowed and complicated the process for reviewing and approving developments. The Committee recommended that a specialized group be responsible for expediting the approval and construction of affordable housing developments.

In response to these recommendations, we partnered with the Mayor’s Office to create the Housing Solutions Team which is responsible for streamlining processes and removing policy and regulatory barriers that hinder housing development, promoting innovative strategies for housing development, and implementing policies that supports the city’s goals of creating more housing for people experiencing homelessness.