L.A. Mayor Karen Bass updates plan to use public land for housing

L.A. Mayor Karen Bass updates plan to use public land for housing

In February, after signing her third executive order aimed at reducing homelessness in Los Angeles, Mayor Karen Bass announced that her office was stepping up efforts to identify possible housing sites on public lands.

Bass stated that over the last few years, the city began 40 housing projects for the unhoused on land underutilized. The projects totaled 2,600 units, with 13 projects completed, 13 projects in progress, and 14 in the design or negotiation stage.

Bass stated that city departments had reviewed over 3,300 parcels under her Executive Directive 3 to maximize the use of property owned by the city for temporary and permanent accommodation. In partnership with the Governor, the city has identified 500 units of temporary housing called Emergency Sleeping Cabins. Gavin Newsom's effort to install 1,200 temporary units throughout California includes the installation of 500 Emergency Sleeping Cabins.

Bass stated that the units should be delivered by fiscal year 2023-24.

Bass stated that a part of urgently addressing the crisis was identifying land for housing in ways which we hadn't done before. This will reduce the cost of housing Angelenos and also allow us to act faster.

Bass' letter outlined further her plans. She stated that she would expand affordable housing developments from July 1, 2020 to January 20, 2025, increasing efforts by:

Partnership with regional public agencies who have vacant and surplus parcels in Los Angeles.

Bass, who took office in January last year, said that she had approved 12 projects, totaling 865 units, through the planning process within 60 days of her taking office. Her first executive directive mandated that all city departments collaborate to expedite affordable-housing projects.

She stated that her second executive order, which created the Inside Safe Program, led to the accommodation of more than 1,200 Angelenos in over 15 encampments.

Bass stated that over the next six-month period, city groups would be formed in order to create standards for identifying vacant and surplus land, and for creating clear standards regarding the types of parcels. These standards will integrate real estate assets with the city's asset management operations. Bass said that groups would develop standards for any solicitations to develop on public land.

In a letter, she stated that her focus for the rest of her first term would be to streamline and accelerate the development and disposition of city-owned property, as well as to find innovative ways to finance and deliver affordable housing, without relying on traditional subsidies.