Additionally, the creation of a trust fund for housing could help to alleviate some of the economic burden on developers in Los Angeles. As compared to other major metropolis' such as San Jose, New York, and Chicago, Los Angeles uses the least amount of federal block grant funds on affordable housing on a per person basis, with just $23 per resident (In Short Demand). In addition to adopting an inclusionary zoning ordinance, the city should also implement an in-lieu fee to help fund it. Such a fee could be an alternative method to the institution of including an affordable unit in new developments, and could be directly applied to a housing trust fund. Estimates indicate that a $7 per square foot in-lieu fee would produce a surplus of upwards of $20 million a year, and could be used to remedy the housing shortage that not only affects Latinos, but other minority groups in Los Angeles as well (In Short Demand).
Interestingly enough, some of the aforementioned reforms have been given a significant amount of consideration by both the city of Los Angeles and several of its housing agencies. In response to what was considered a citywide housing crisis, former city council members Reyes, Garcetti, Villaraigosa, Padilla and Miscikowski proposed a motion in April of 2004 that was eventually approved by the City Council to introduce an inclusive zoning ordinance to benefit seekers of low income housing, a group which is partly comprised of Latinos (Los Angles Housing Department). Among other measures included in the ordinance were requests for a percentage of total units to be for affordable housing, with developers being granted an option to choose among setting aside 12% of their rental units for households with incomes at or below 50% of median income, granting 10% of their rental units to be dedicated to Section 8 status, 20% of for-sale units to be set aside for households with incomes below 80% of the median income, or to partition 40% of single family and condominium units to be occupied by households 120% below that of the area's median income (Los Angeles Housing Department). Other stipulations included a maximum affordable housing expense, a citywide geographic applicability, a review clause allowing the city to be kept abreast of progress in three years of this policy's institution, and regular reports from the Affordable Housing Commission and the Housing Department to be provided to the city council and the mayor.
While a fair amount of bureaucracy will always involve municipal affairs of such scale in a city as burgeoning as Los Angeles, the need to effectively house the low wage income earners that help keep such a city in operation is certainly necessary. The implementation of the preceding recommendations would help to alleviate the problems of overcrowding and enclave housing previously outlined. To remain a viable entity in today's demanding economic times, the city can afford to do no less.
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