Exploring creative ways to address L.A.’s housing crisis, Councilmember Curren D. Price Jr. urged faith-based organizations (FBOs) to consider turning their properties into affordable, workforce, market-based housing.
During an informational session on Nov. 2, Price and his staff updated religious and nonprofit leaders in Council District 9 on the city’s efforts and available resources to assist FBOs in building residential mixed-use units on church-owned land. Several pastors attended along with representatives of neighborhood councils, homeless aid agencies, foundations and environmental groups to learn how to get involved in commercial development activities.
“We want to make sure that our faith-based community is an active participant in our efforts to create more housing. We need homeless, special needs, low income and market rate housing,” said Price.
“Churches have a unique role. They have land, they have missions and we want to make sure that we leverage our resources to assist faith-based organizations in being a partner in the development of housing in our community.”
Price and the Reuben Caldwell of the L.A. Planning Department explained that the updated South and Southeast Los Angeles Community Plans, as well as Measure JJJ (which offers incentives for building housing in transit-oriented areas) and Measure HHH (which provides funding for housing for the homeless), now enable churches to build and provide additional services, such as transitional or special needs housing, to benefit the surrounding community.
The updated community plans amended the zoning of churches with property on major corridors from residential to commercial, which would allow, for instance, a 24-unit mixed-income project on a 10,000 square foot lot. Churches with property located in medium density residential areas could potentially build 13 units and those with property in low medium density neighborhoods could construct seven units on the same size lot.
Emphasizing that each FBO has different options to consider for their property use, Price offered the
the free services of his staff to discuss and analyze proposed projects. In response, many attendees announced their intentions to follow up.
Ronnie Morrisette of Tesla Homes USA said, “I think this was very informative and viable. It’s a great platform for others to come and get their projects developed.”
“This is the second series of meeting and we’re encouraging churches to have one-on-one sessions with my staff to further refine what their possibilities might be,” Price said. “We’ll try to assist in putting churches together with other contacts so that projects can be evaluated and move forward.”