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Council OKs Use of $100-Million Fund for Low-Cost Homes

Families struggling to pay the rent are to benefit. Mayor says funds would address city's severe shortage of affordable housing.

February 12, 2003|Patrick McGreevy | Times Staff Writer

Most of Los Angeles' proposed $100-million housing trust fund would be used to develop affordable apartments for families struggling to come up with the monthly rent check, under a spending plan approved Tuesday by the City Council.

The plan calls for 60% of the money to go to rental housing projects for households at or below the median income, 20% to create home ownership opportunities for moderate- or low-income families and 5% for emergency rental assistance to keep families off the streets.

Ten percent of the money would be kept flexible for use on other housing opportunities and 5% would be reserved for administration of the fund.

"This is going to be a roadmap for how we can address the issue of affordable housing in Los Angeles," said Councilwoman Wendy Greuel.

The city Housing Department would administer the trust fund.

Mayor James K. Hahn said in a letter to the City Council that the trust fund addresses a severe shortage of affordable housing, which has resulted in Los Angeles having the second lowest rate of home ownership among major U.S. cities. A single full-time worker must earn $21.15 per hour to afford the average apartment, Hahn said.

"The reality of this crisis is overwhelming for Los Angeles residents," Hahn said.

He urged the council to act on the plan.

Last year, the city provided $42 million for the housing trust fund, with the goal of eventually boosting the fund to $100 million.

City officials said they hope to make the local money go further by matching it with Los Angeles' share of $2.1 billion in state housing funds. Those funds were made available throughout California by last year's passage of Proposition 46.

"To talk about not when or if we are going to get the money but to talk about how we are going to spend it is a really exciting day in Los Angeles," said Councilman Eric Garcetti.

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