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THE NEXT LOS ANGELES / TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION : How can we take advantage of the mosaic of entrepreneurship that makes business life so vital in Southern California? : Solutions : A Program to Spur Home Building

July 17, 1994

FROM: Bernard W. Kinsey, former director of RLA and now head of his own bus-iness development and management consulting company.

Kinsey starts from the fact that a significant number of houses are wearing out. "We lose 2% of the housing stock every year," Kinsey says. "We need an aggressive program to put up housing for low- and middle-income people all over the city."

Such a program would create many jobs. Kinsey tries to calculate a number: "We have $500 billion in real estate value in Los Angeles County alone, including the beaches. If you lose 2% of that each year, that's $10 billion of wealth lost annually. How many jobs is that at $18,000 per job? It's way over half a million jobs."

There are incentives already in place, specifically state tax credits available to developers of moderate-income housing. But those credits are being taken up mainly in new communities, not in areas where houses are in short supply.

REALITY CHECK:

One solution being contemplated at City Hall is to use the city's bonds to help small developers defray infrastructure costs. But bond financing is no easier to come by than any other money.

However, money spent on housing is money well spent. Jobs open up quickly and new homes improve the city and its capital base.

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