Council President Nury Martinez (file photo)


The Los Angeles City Council passed two motions on Tuesday, Feb. 22, as part of a legislative package introduced at the start of the year by Council President Nury Martinez aimed at “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty.”

The first motion is meant to help expand city housing stock by using the state’s newly loosened zoning laws under Senate Bill 9. It instructs the
chief administrative officer to work with the L.A. Housing Department, the
Department of Planning and the Department of Building and Safety on a program to help low-income Angelenos build and upgrade accessory dwelling units through new financial incentives.

“The city can create new financing tools to help low-income property
owners and Community Land trusts upgrade and build additional (accessory
dwelling units). This can be a powerful tool in assuaging the fears of
thousands of Angelenos while spurring economic development and increasing the city’s housing stock,” states the motion, seconded by Councilman Gil Cedillo.

The second motion passed Tuesday is aimed at creating pathways to
homeownership, and notes that — according to U.S. Census Bureau data – while 74% of White households were homeowners in 2021, only 44% of Black households and 48% of Hispanic households owned their homes.

The motion directs the Los Angeles Housing Department to report on the
financial need among low- and moderate-income potential home buyers in Los Angeles and to work with the CAO on how to build out the city’s First Time
Homebuyer program to increase its number of loans and financing options. That motion was seconded by Councilmen Kevin de León and Mitch O’Farrell.

Martinez introduced a series of motions on Jan. 11. During that meeting, she said the city’s inequality was highlighted during the coronavirus pandemic, “but existed long before.”

“As city leaders and as representatives of these communities, these are the very people that we need to fight for,” Martinez said. “The L.A. that
is working for those who are wealthy and have access isn’t working for the
people who I represent and who a lot of us represent.”

The package also included a motion to have the city officially adopt
the goal of ending family and childhood poverty by 2035, which the City Council voted to adopt on Feb. 9.