L.A. to Pay Residents to House Homeless in Granny Units and Garages

Los Angeles homeless (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

The City of Los Angeles wants to pay property owners to renovate garages and build backyard houses to rent out to the homeless.

The proposal, described by the Los Angeles Times, is mayor Eric Garcetti’s latest effort to tackle the growing problem of homelessness as he attempts to build a national profile as a potential presidential candidate in 2020.

The New York Times has reported that California leads the nation with about 118,000 people experiencing homelessness on an average night — a quarter of the nation’s homeless population. Many of the homeless in the state are in L.A. County.

The situation is so desperate that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in August 2017 unanimously approved a $550,000 “Second Dwelling Unit Pilot Program” to pay qualifying homeowners in unincorporated areas up to $75,000 to build a second “granny” unit in areas zoned for such structures.

The pilot program will also provide grants of up to $50,000 to try to legalize some of the huge number of existing accessory dwelling units (ADUs) that were never approved by the county or city planning departments.

The City of Los Angeles had planned to build apartments for the homeless in Temple City and Boyle Heights. Butpontaneous “NIMBY” (Not In My Back Yard) protests broke out last month from local residents angry about homeless dumping in their communities.

Breitbart News reported that similar angry protests broke out at the Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting on March 23 when the county tried to move 700 homeless people evicted from the banks of the Santa Ana River to tent camps near city parks near the bedroom communities in Irvine, Huntington Beach, and Laguna Niguel.

The move would have complied with a settlement in a federal civil rights lawsuit and saved Orange County about $780,000 per month in hotel costs. But 2,500 mostly local homeowners from the affected cities shut down the plan by showing up at the weekly board meeting waving hundreds of signs and chanting, “No tent city!” and “Protect our community, protect our children.”

Based on the Second Dwelling Unit Pilot Program’s supposed success, and a $100,000 Mayor’s Challenge feasibility planning grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the UK Daily Mail has reported that the City of Los Angeles intends to use a big piece of the $1.2 billion Proposition HHH bond approved by voters in 2016 to house the homeless permanently.

The grannie flats and garages will be required to include kitchenettes, toilets, and shower amenities. The prospective tenants will be screened by social workers, and will work with counselors to obtain job training and ree-nter the work force within 3 years.


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