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Guest post: Proposition HHH and the housing-first approach to ending chronic homelessness in LA

By Stephanie Klasky-Gamer, president and CEO of LA Family Housing Angelenos care deeply about our city’s homelessness crisis. And we know what the solution is: Building more homes. Last January, as part of the annual census of people experiencing homelessness, nearly 8,000 volunteers counted 58,000 people experiencing homelessness across Los Angeles County — a 23 percent rise over the previous year. More than 34,000 people were counted within the city limits, nearly three-quarters of whom were living unsheltered and almost one-third of whom were defined as chronically homeless. The 2018 homeless count begins on January 23. This city is in dire need of more supportive housing, a model that combines low-barrier affordable housing, healthcare, and other supportive services to help individuals and families lead more stable lives. Supportive housing isn’t the solution for everyone experiencing homelessness, but it can be for those with chronic health or mental health conditions or people who have experienced chronic homelessness. There are approximately 6,500 supportive housing units in the LA area, according to the Homeless Housing Gaps analysis prepared by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, but the City and County of Los Angeles have determined we need around 10,000 more in order to address chronic [...]

By | 2018-01-18T09:51:53+00:00 January 17th, 2018|

New research briefs: Why isn’t there enough affordable housing in LA?

The research is clear: Los Angeles needs to build more housing. The city’s affordability crisis, which drives its growing homelessness, displacement, and resident cost burdens, is indisputably the result of a severe housing shortage. The pace of housing development has not remotely kept pace with the increase in new residents over the past three decades. Why isn’t there enough affordable housing in LA? And what could be done to create more? Lewis Center faculty and students have spent the past year studying these question in detail, and have produced three briefs detailing new research into the causes of, and potential solutions to, LA’s housing problems: Is Los Angeles Destroying Its Affordable Housing Stock to Build Luxury Apartments? How Proposition U Restrains Los Angeles Housing Development Overcoming Opposition to New Housing Together, the research briefs draw straightforward conclusions about what’s behind the Los Angeles housing crisis — and how the tide might be turned: The lack of housing helps the rich and hurts everyone (and everything) else Systemic factors that block new housing development exacerbate existing spatial inequalities by pricing low- and middle-income households out of neighborhoods with quality public services, particularly high-performing schools. California’s tight land use regulations often benefit [...]

By | 2017-12-14T14:12:59+00:00 December 14th, 2017|

Housing, Equity, and Community Series: Panel takes on LA’s crisis of homelessness

By Zev Hurwitz With nearly 60,000 Angelenos struggling with homelessness, local change agents have taken on the task of developing policies and services to address the crisis. At a Nov. 15, 2017, panel discussion at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, four leaders in the field discussed the challenges and opportunities in finding solutions for the plethora of Los Angeles residents who do not have access to permanent housing. The talk was part of an ongoing "Housing, Equity, and Community Series" put on by the Lewis Center, the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin, and the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate. More events in the series will take place in the winter and spring quarters. Watch the full panel: Michael Lens, associate professor of urban planning at the Luskin School, moderated the “Homelessness in Los Angeles” event. Other participants were Jerry Ramirez, manager of Los Angeles County’s homeless initiative; Dora Leon Gallo, CEO of A Community of Friends; Jordan Vega, a current UCLA student and a director of Bruin Shelter, a registered student organization; and activist and Skid Row resident Suzette Shaw. Lens began the lunch program by noting some alarming homelessness statistics and emphasizing the importance [...]

By | 2017-11-21T14:05:39+00:00 November 20th, 2017|

Bloomberg: California’s housing crisis harms state climate goals

How can California be a global environmental leader if its runaway housing crisis makes climate change worse? This question was at the heart of the 2017 edition of our annual Lake Arrowhead Symposium, held in October around the theme "Global Climate Change, Local Growing Pains." It's now being asked in the national media, in a new article in Bloomberg Businessweek. "California risks losing the lead in the fight against climate change if it can’t reduce its citizens’ commutes," reporter Esmé E. Deprez concludes. "To do so, it’ll need more housing." Deprez's piece tracks how the lack of affordable housing in California cities forces lower-income people to move further and further outside the urban core, producing more greenhouse gas emissions. Several Arrowhead panels touched on some of the reasons why this is happening: Exclusionary policies that prevent housing construction in many urban neighborhoods, misconceptions about the causes of traffic, and the lack of integrated local climate plans.  Read the full Bloomberg piece here, and watch insights from some of the 2017 Arrowhead panelists below:  

By | 2017-11-16T10:06:56+00:00 November 16th, 2017|

2017 Lake Arrowhead Symposium: Global Climate Change, Local Growing Pains

The annual UCLA Lake Arrowhead Symposium brings together influential planners, policymakers, academics, and other stakeholders for three days of immersive discussion on the connections between land use, transportation, and the environment. This October's 27th edition of the gathering tackled the highly relevant topic of "Global Climate Change, Local Growing Pains," examining how land use policy interacts with and often impedes climate goals.

Sessions covered everything from housing displacement to freight logistics to infrastructure planning for greenhouse gas emissions. Speakers summarized some of the symposium's key themes and insights in the video below:


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By | 2017-11-21T14:37:52+00:00 October 23rd, 2017|

Lake Arrowhead Symposium: Implementing climate goals through local tools

By Alfonso Directo Jr.

The 27th Annual UCLA Lake Arrowhead Symposium - “Global Climate Change, Local Growing Pains” - tackles the connections and conflicts between sustainability goals and land use policy in California and beyond. Here's a dispatch from a session on Tuesday, October 17, and a summary video with the three panelists.

How can we grow our urban areas more responsibly? The 2017 symposium’s final panel, moderated by the Lewis Center’s John Gahbauer, featured pragmatic local leaders presenting tools they have each used to help communities, developers, and decision-makers better understand, create, evaluate, and modify individual projects that support positive growth.[...]

By | 2017-10-26T12:31:01+00:00 October 20th, 2017|

Lake Arrowhead Symposium: How pricing and technology can improve transportation and climate impacts

By Jordan Fraade

The 27th Annual UCLA Lake Arrowhead Symposium - “Global Climate Change, Local Growing Pains” -tackled the connections and conflicts between sustainability goals and land use policy in California and beyond. Here’s a dispatch from a session on Monday, October 16, and a summary video with the three panelists.

Users of our transportation system are accustomed to flat fees — a single fare per transit ride, a set per-hour rate for street parking, a fixed delivery fee for packages, and so on. [...]

By | 2017-10-25T11:45:34+00:00 October 18th, 2017|

Lake Arrowhead Symposium: Building our way to denser, greener, more affordable neighborhoods

By Eve Bachrach

The 27th Annual UCLA Lake Arrowhead Symposium - “Global Climate Change, Local Growing Pains” - tackles the connections and conflicts between sustainability goals and land use policy in California and beyond. Here's a dispatch from the opening night session and a summary video with the three panelists.

California is not building enough housing, and the denser, more walkable, more environmentally friendly neighborhoods that are being built are not affordable. [...]

By | 2017-10-20T11:45:04+00:00 October 16th, 2017|

Recapping our Housing and Activism series: Despite the contentious past, presenting hope for the future

Public Housing and Activism series brought together community members, activists, academics and public officials to discuss the thorny intersection of displacement, environmental justice, and housing policy.  The 2016-2017 Housing and Activism series, produced with our partners at the Ziman Center for Real Estate and the Institute on Inequality and Democracy,  strove to center stage the people that have lived and are living through the massive federal policy change away from public housing developments. The series started with a look back at the city considered the epicenter for public housing demolition, Chicago, hearing the perspective of former and current residents who witnessed the near wholesale displacement of their community at Cabrini Green. The second installment focused on LA’s own plans for demolition with a conversation on the much debated and awaited Jordan Downs redevelopment. The final event returned to another community that famously fought the loss of its public housing units, Boyle Heights with Pico Aliso, this time addressing the displacement by the private market that threatens the community today. Adding to the in-house academic researchers at UCLA, this series sought knowledge from the field. We heard from a filmmaker, an artist-activist, four community members, two community organizers, a Housing Authority [...]

By | 2017-10-10T12:27:15+00:00 August 1st, 2017|

A Case of Arrested Development – UCLA Housing and Land Use experts on the Road to and From Los Angeles’ Measure S

A complete video recording of the event available on YouTube The merits of an upcoming ballot initiative in the City of LA, Measure S, that would mean big changes for big development projects in the city brought together a panel of UCLA experts in housing and land use. If passed by voters in March 2017, Measure S would impose a temporary moratorium on development projects that require changes to zoning, land use and building height laws in Los Angeles. In addition, the measure would restrict other changes and impose mandatory review procedures to the Los Angeles General Plan, while preventing project applicants from conducting their own Environmental Impact Reports (EIR). “If you’re a developer and you want to do some affordable housing … it would be informally discouraged in wealthier areas,” said Joan Ling, a longtime lecturer in the UCLA Luskin Department of Urban Planning. “There’s a lot of talk about reforming land use laws in L.A., but there’s very little desire for actual results because the councilmembers want control of what gets built and that is tied to election campaign fundraising.” The Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies along with the Ziman Center for Real Estate produced this event featuring [...]

By | 2017-10-31T13:38:24+00:00 February 14th, 2017|