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Affordable Housing

April 5, 2010 | By Martha Groves
For decades, Santa Monica has allowed developers to add floors to their buildings or exceed other zoning restrictions in exchange for providing affordable housing to poor and moderate-income tenants. Such was the case with Dorchester House, a luxury condominium low-rise just blocks from the Pacific Ocean. Almost three decades ago, the city approved a development plan in which 15 first-floor units were earmarked as affordable housing. But as real estate attorney Stanley Epstein learned recently, the city has done little to enforce these agreements.
April 15, 2014 | By Andrew Khouri
Most Californians can't afford their rent. The state's affordability crisis has worsened since the recession, as soaring home prices and rents outpace job and income growth. Meanwhile, government funds to combat the problem have evaporated. Local redevelopment agencies once generated roughly $1 billion annually for below-market housing across California, but the roughly 400 agencies closed in 2012 to ease a state budget crisis. In addition, almost $5 billion from state below-market housing bonds, approved by voters last decade, is nearly gone.
December 22, 2009 | By Scott Gold
Los Angeles officials are close to completing a deal that would relocate a metal finishing company that has long been the bane of a poor neighborhood -- the final piece of an ambitious quarter-billion-dollar plan to bring affordable housing to a pocket of South L.A. The company, Palace Plating, has become symbolic of the enduring troubles that followed South L.A.'s slapdash development. Opened in 1941, it's the type of factory that drew thousands of working-class families to the city during the boom years of World War II. Yet it was wedged onto a narrow street next to homes and across from 28th Street School, which soon became one of the largest elementary campuses in the nation.
April 6, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes and Tim Logan
Dozens of people shared only three showers in the building that Patricia McDowell called home for the last 2 1/2 years. Roaches skittered across the floor, she said, and lights went out and stayed out. In recent months, McDowell said she had to run an extension cord to another room to keep electricity going. But when the Los Angeles Fire Department told McDowell and dozens of other tenants that they had to clear out of the building at 5700 S. Hoover St., citing dangerous conditions, she panicked.
June 11, 2000 | CHARLOTTE CRAVEN, Charlotte Craven is a Camarillo City Council member
The Times' report on the housing crunch in Ventura County on June 4 was a good starting point for public discussion on the tremendous shortage of housing, cities' legal requirements for affordable housing, what residents tell us they want and the ocean that separates all of the above. People constantly tell elected officials that it is more important to follow the "intent" of Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources (SOAR)) or Measure A than what those initiatives actually mandate.
February 21, 2008 | David Zahniser
A plan to reward real estate developers who put affordable housing in their market-rate residential projects was approved Wednesday by the City Council. On an 11-4 vote, the council approved a package of incentives that roll back zoning rules governing height, density, open space or the number of parking spaces for residential projects that have at least 5% of their housing units designated as affordable. -- -- David Zahniser
September 13, 1995
The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday killed a plan to convert an affordable-housing complex in Venice into a project consisting mostly of upscale condominiums. The council voted unanimously to oppose the redevelopment request of TransAction Cos. Ltd., the owner of Lincoln Place, one of the largest affordable-housing complexes on the Westside. The decision came as good news to tenants who fought the proposal. "We're flying a little bit high right now," said Ingrid Mueller.
March 30, 2010 | By Shane Goldmacher
The din of construction is missing from the eastern edge of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where workers had hoped to break ground on a 70-unit affordable-housing complex months ago. No nail guns are firing. No hard hat-wearing workers are milling about. And it's not the only would-be construction site that's silent. Plans to build more than 16,000 housing units in California, many of them for low-income residents, have been frozen in bureaucratic limbo since July. Voters approved funding four years ago. Last summer, state officials chose the 121 projects they want to build.
May 24, 1989 | MARCIDA DODSON, Times Staff Writer
Increasing the amount of affordable housing in Irvine is possible only if city officials are willing to give developers concessions that reduce the costs of construction, a consultant told City Council members Tuesday afternoon. Only with incentives--such as increasing the density of apartments, waiving fees for parks and requiring fewer parking spaces--can developers afford to build the lower-priced housing that Irvine officials say they want, consultant Claude Gruen said. "All we're saying is that mandating affordable housing is not free," said Gruen, who is president of a San Francisco economic and sociological research firm.
September 10, 2003 | Jean O. Pasco, Times Staff Writer
Irvine officials promised Tuesday to honor a commitment by Tustin to offer 14 homes at the former Tustin Marine base as temporary housing for poor families. The homes are on an area of the base within Irvine's boundaries. The bulk of the base is in Tustin. The homes, transitional housing, will be operated by Families Forward of Irvine, formerly known as Irvine Temporary Housing.
March 17, 2014 | By Mollie Lowery
Lourdes was 69 years old when I first met her in 2012. She was living next to a bus stop on a busy four-lane street in front of a Silver Lake supermarket. Lourdes had claimed the spot three years earlier, after she was rousted from her encampment in Griffith Park. Before that, she'd lived in her 1973 Toyota, but it was eventually impounded because of overdue parking tickets. Lourdes was one of the folks we call "chronically homeless. " She'd been surviving on the city's margins for 20 years after losing her low-cost housing because of gentrification.
January 24, 2014 | By Jessica Guynn and Chris O'Brien
SAN FRANCISCO - It's the kind of backlash that Marc Benioff could never have imagined when he started the city's largest technology company 15 years ago in a Telegraph Hill apartment, some 30 miles north of Silicon Valley. By starting a business software firm that would create jobs in the city and donate 1% of its profit to charity, Benioff believed he was building a company that reflected San Francisco's progressive ideals. And he says he's proud to have been a catalyst for the city's tech economy that has since grown to 2,000 companies.
December 21, 2013 | By Alissa Walker
The apartment building at 2602 Broadway in Santa Monica doesn't scream "affordable housing. " Rather, its proportions and details are more like that of the neighboring 1960s buildings, and that's because 2602 Broadway takes a cue from those iconic structures, architect Kevin Daly said. "What we've done is take the typical L.A. dingbat, which I would characterize as a four-sided doughnut of a building, and break it apart and move toward the extreme edge of the property," Daly said.
November 4, 2013 | By Victoria Looseleaf
Sick of Obamacare overload?  Welcome, then, to Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre's “The Groundskeepers,” where healthcare comes to beautifully moody, elegiac life. Running through Saturday, this new, seven-scene, two-hour work written by George Moreno and mounted by site-specific queen Duckler, who founded her troupe in 1985, animates Boyle Heights' shuttered Linda Vista Hospital. Built in 1904 for railroad workers, Charles Whittlesey's massive structure closed in 1991 and will soon be converted into affordable housing.
October 10, 2013 | By Andrew Khouri
Looking for the American dream in Los Angeles? Good luck with that. A household earning the county's median income - $53,001 annually in 2012 - can only afford a home worth about $271,000, a price point better suited to the Midwest than the West Coast. That means a typical buyer can afford only 24% of the homes currently for sale, according to a study released Thursday by Trulia, the real estate information company. Los Angeles County is the nation's third-most-expensive housing market by this measure - behind only San Francisco and Orange County.
September 26, 2013 | By Scarlet Cheng
Despite their potential as affordable, well-built housing for the masses, modern prefabs in California have tended to be custom-built designs that exceed prospective buyers' budgets. In South Los Angeles, however, a nonprofit organization called Restore Neighborhoods LA recently finished three architect-designed prefab houses topped with solar panels and aimed at moderate-income families. The RNLA houses were designed by the Santa Monica firm Minarc , headed by the wife-husband team of Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir and Tryggvi Thorsteinsson, and built with the couple's interlocking panel system, dubbed mnmMOD.  A bonus: mnmMOD is produced in nearby Vernon, providing local jobs and cutting down on transportation costs, the firm said.
March 27, 2011
Ever since Gov. Jerry Brown proposed patching one of the huge holes in California's budget by eliminating community redevelopment agencies, supporters of those agencies and their mission have been scrambling to save them or, failing that, to save the essence of them. That's a worthy campaign, because the redevelopment system, despite its flaws and susceptibility to abuse, does provide a useful tool for revitalizing blighted areas, creating jobs and supplying much-needed support for affordable housing.
April 10, 2010 | By Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times
During a tour of his new East Rancho Dominguez apartment, Octavio Reyna paused proudly at his low-flow toilet. "Two kinds of flush," he said, gesturing to the buttons on top of the shiny white porcelain and delicately leaving the specifics to his guest's imagination. Then he was on to the bathtub, where "it's in our contract that we can't change the shower head," then the kitchen, with its shiny floor that is "green-friendly," and then the living room, where an energy-guzzling air conditioner was conspicuously absent.
September 25, 2013
Re "Beyond the CRAs," Editorial, Sept. 22 The legislation The Times has endorsed to create Sustainable Community Investment Authorities (SCIAs) to succeed Community Redevelopment Agencies has a serious defect. It allows elected politicians to spend future tax revenues today. The Times' editorial writers take comfort in the fact that SCIA boards would be "bound by state ethics, open-meeting and public record laws. " That will not stop them from promising future tax revenues as collateral for projects they want today.
September 22, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
The genius of the state's late and not-very-much-lamented community redevelopment agencies was that they built projects that raised property values and then kept for themselves the higher tax receipts that resulted. Normally, taxes are divvied up among the city, the county, the school districts and the state, but in a California-style CRA project area, any tax receipts beyond what the parcel already had been generating would stay with the agency to pay off bonds and invest in new projects.
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