Housing advocates have called Los Angeles the “homeless capital” of America. Los Angeles County has more homeless Americans than any other county. Proposition HHH, which would provide $1.2 billion to help build thousands of shelters for those who are homeless or at-risk and facilities that could address addiction and mental illnesses, was approved by Los Angeles’ voters in 2016. The program has fallen far short of its expectations after more than five years.
The city’s latest audit shows that it is still unable to address the housing crisis and that there are not enough units. The city is not yet halfway through the construction of the project, which is well in excess of its expected completion date. Also, costs are rising rapidly. The goal of the project was to deliver 10,000 housing units. However, so far only 1,100 have been completed. Even though more than 87% of units were studios or one-bedroom units, an audit revealed that many units cost more than $700,000. Some units can cost as high as $837,000 per unit.
Oder as Eric Garcetti, Democrat, the mayor of this city, stated it, tweetL.A. stands for “We produce more units than we promised and at a much lower price than our expectations.“
Reason TV reported in December 2019 that only 1 per cent of Proposition HHH’s housing stock was built after three years. Despite initially spending $350,000 for each unit, subsequent estimates showed the cost to build them exceeded $500,000.
The city is now facing serious challenges as the costs of living have risen, making it difficult to realize its goals.
California’s housing problems are similar to those it faced in the past. The cost of materials and labor may have gone up due to the pandemic, however, California cities are plagued by regulatory obstacles that artificially increase the prices of construction as well as rents and mortgages. Housing regulations such as mandatory parking spaces or minimum lot sizes make it more costly and push people off the market. This further increases the problem of homelessness.
L.A. should ease its restrictions on zoning if it wants to end homelessness. It would be possible to build more housing units with less hassle and more ease.