Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis released the following statement after the Board of Supervisors today approved her motion to create a pilot community land trust partnership program to provide more affordable housing units:
“As businesses shuttered to adhere to our County Safer at Home Order, families already on the edge of economic hardship before the pandemic were pushed to the brink of homelessness after losing their steady income. The COVID-19 crisis has been driving unemployment rates to historic levels, forcing many families to decide whether to pay rent or put food on the table.
“Despite the County’s robust eviction moratorium and similar residential eviction moratoriums enforced by the state and federal governments, evictions are expected to rise once these moratoriums are lifted. A May 2020 report from the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy estimates that the County may see 120,000 newly homeless households as a result of evictions due to the pandemic.
“Even before the pandemic, the County faced a homelessness crisis. On any given night, 66,433 people experience homelessness in LA County — a 12.7 percent increase over last year. And, 59 percent of unsheltered adults experiencing homelessness for the first time cite economic hardship as the cause, according to the 2020 Greater LA Homeless Count.
“Before the COVID-19 crisis, the County needed to add 517,000 affordable housing units to meet demand. Partnerships between the County and community land trusts (CLTs) can offer low-income households access to affordable housing on a long-term basis and opportunities to build equity. My motion calls for a pilot community land trust partnership program that allows CLTs to purchase tax-defaulted property below market value through the Treasurer Tax Collector Chapter 8 Agreement Sale program.
“CLTs are usually nonprofit organizations that develop and preserve affordable housing for local communities. CLTs maintain ownership of land before either selling or leasing the property to low-income households with restrictions on resale prices. In 2019, the County’s Chief Executive Officer noted that land acquisition was essential in creating a successful pilot community land trust program. Further, my motion directs the County to have CLTs work with original property owners so they can stay in their homes, whenever possible. This will ensure that people are not displaced both during and after the pandemic. We are all in this crisis together, and we are all better off when everyone has a place to call home.”
Today’s motion directs the Chief Executive Officer and the Los Angeles County Development Authority to identify funding for the pilot program, including $7.2 million made available in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund from unclaimed funds collected by the Treasurer Tax Collector. The motion also calls for a 60-day report back.
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