Ten months after Measure ULA, a November 2022 ballot initiative passed by residents of Los Angeles County, the L.A. City Council passed a $150 million plan to benefit short-term emergency rental assistance, eviction defense, tenant outreach and education, direct cash assistance for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities, tenant protections, and affordable housing production.
The funding for these programs comes from the passage of Measure ULA, also known as the “mansion tax.” City officials estimated the mansion tax would raise $600 million to $1.1 billion annually. On Tuesday, August 26, the City Council voted 10-0 to approve a plan for spending the first $150 million raised by the measure.
Measure ULA funding is based on increased taxes on the sale of properties valued at $5 million or above in Los Angeles. Beginning April 01, 2023, any properties that sell for more than $5 million but less than $10 million would be subject to a 4% tax. Any properties sold for over $10 million will be subject to a higher 5.5% tax.
Mayor Karen Bass released a statement thanking the Council for approving the ULA spending plan.
“In order to successfully confront this homelessness crisis, we have to ensure that we are doing all we can to prevent Angelenos from falling into homelessness in the first place,” the Mayor said. “Now, we must turn to ensuring that these resources reach those who need them most.”
According to the Mayor’s office, the plan provides:
– $18.4 million for a short-term emergency assistance program for qualifying low-income tenants who apply for up to six months of back rent due to a one-time economic hardship.
– $23 million for an eviction defense and prevention program to continue and expand the Stay Housed LA program in partnership with the county, legal service providers, and community organizations.
– $5.5 million for tenant outreach and education and a campaign to provide tenant education outreach services, workshops, and legal clinics.
– $11.2 million for a tenant harassment protection program.
– $23 million to provide rent subsidies and move-in assistance to low-income seniors and people with disabilities.
– $56.86 million to provide additional loans to developers of multifamily affordable housing projects ready to start or finish construction quickly.
According to Ann Sewill, head of the city’s housing department, a portal for tenants seeking emergency rent assistance is expected to open on September 19. For landlords owed back rent, a portal will launch in mid-October.
In another action related affordable housing, the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) announced on August 31, that the State of California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) awarded $156.9 million to the City of Los Angeles under the Round 7 Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program.
The AHSC funds will contribute over $99.2 million to the production of four new affordable housing projects, resulting in 466 affordable units in the neighborhoods of downtown Los Angeles, Koreatown, Crenshaw, and Historic South Central. The awarded projects include: Downtown Women’s Center Campus Expansion (CD 14); HHH New Hampshire (CD 10); Crenshaw Crossing (CD 10); and Peak Plaza Apts (CD 9).
“Thank you to our partners for awarding this critical funding. These awards will help our city continue to deliver affordable housing in communities across Los Angeles while making sure that our communities are safer for people to get where they need to go,” said the mayor.
“We will continue to work urgently, across all levels of government, to secure the resources to bring more Angelenos inside and deliver more affordable housing.”
In this round of funding, over $22.7 million will be used for sustainable infrastructure improvements and transit-related amenities for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders. Improvements will target areas most in need within a one-mile radius of project sites by installing new traffic-calming measures like speed bumps, high-visibility crosswalks, and HAWK signals.
Over 85,000 feet of existing roads will receive new bikeway infrastructure, and nearly 2,000 feet of sidewalks will be repaired, along with new trees and bus shelters to provide more shade for residents. Additionally, $31.4 million will be used to acquire 31 new Metro all-electric buses to increase capacity for existing bus lines surrounding the project sites.
“In addition to 466 affordable housing units, these four developments will include bicycle and pedestrian improvements, energy efficiency and water conservation elements, connections to high quality transit and other features that help create a more livable and sustainable Los Angele,” said Sewill.
The AHSC award resulted from City team effort coordinated by LAHD, and in partnership with Los Angeles City Department of Transportation and Department of Public Works. Technical assistance provided by Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and collaboration with Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA).