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An ongoing series of informational entries

SUPPORTIVE HOUSING (PROPOSITION HHH)

WHAT IS SUPPORTIVE HOUSING?

May 12, 2020

SUPPORTIVE HOUSING (PROP HHH)

The City of Los Angeles is aggressively seeking proposals for the development of supportive housing for homeless individuals and those at risk of homelessness throughout the City. The Proposition HHH Supportive Housing Loan Program is funded by Proposition HHH (Prop HHH), approved by city voters in 2016.

To facilitate project and program proposals using both traditional and innovative financing and construction techniques, the City will be releasing three (3) funding and/or City-owned property proposal opportunities seeking the best design and development ideas from the community over the next few weeks.

First is a Request for Proposals for innovative design projects on a City-owned parcel using HHH Funding. Please click here for details.

Second is the (regular) 2018-19 Round 3 HHH Call for Projects, please click here for details.

And lastly is the HHH Housing Innovation Challenge Request for Proposals, please click here for details.

We encourage all interested parties to review all three linked webpages to determine which proposal opportunity best fits your project or program idea. If you have any questions, please feel free to connect via the email address provided for each proposal opportunity found in BAVN. Thank You and Good Luck!

What is Supportive Housing?

The main purpose of Prop HHH is to create new supportive housing for individuals and families who are homeless in the City of Los Angeles. The Supportive Housing (SH) Loan Program was established in 2017 to achieve that goal. Supportive Housing (SH) combines affordable housing with services that support the residents, which may include mental and physical health services, education and job training, and drug and alcohol treatment. The Supportive Housing (SH) Loan Program funds “brick and mortar” construction projects, not building operations or resident services.

Affordable Housing Production on the Rise

May 12, 2020

Affordable Housing Production On the Rise

2019 Calendar End Numbers Show Steady Progress

Look around, and you see cities across America at the forefront of issues related to housing. In Los Angeles, City Planning is among the local agencies facilitating new housing opportunities over an area that spans nearly 470 square miles.

We’ve taken some bold steps in the last three years. We’ve approved 58,437 new market-rate units and 10,877 new affordable units between 2017 and 2019—no small feat.

In recent years, we’ve focused our efforts on increasing the number of affordable units in the pipeline. Through new policy initiatives and the approval of new development projects, City Planning has been able to advance housing opportunities across Los Angeles, in places like the Westside and South LA. And the numbers are starting to reflect our work.

Essentially, we went from approving 2,754 units in 2017 to 5,662 in 2019. We’ve seen a 106% increase, a result of the land-use measures we’ve implemented since 2017 to add more affordable housing to our production pipeline.

Affordable Housing

In the last two years, the Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC) Incentive Program has driven much of the housing production in Los Angeles, accounting for 27,000+ proposed new units since its inception in September 2017. In 2019 alone, more than 14,500 new units—42% of all proposed housing in the City—were proposed through the TOC Program.

TOC incentives have also been successful at generating affordable housing: 5,400 of the units proposed through the program (20%) have been affordable, and half of those units are reserved for Extremely Low Income Angelenos (those earning $31,300 or less, for a household of four).

Housing Approved Through Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) Incentive Program (Density)

Based on the latest numbers, the TOC Incentive Program accounts for the largest share of affordable units of any City program. No other local incentive or planning approval has matched the net new number of affordable units produced by TOC, as the 2019 fourth quarter (Q4) data on our Housing Progress Dashboard demonstrates.

Seventeen new units are added to the housing pipeline for every existing unit lost due to the construction of a TOC project, and two of those new units are restricted for low-income families. These numbers don’t reflect the 100% affordable projects that have also taken advantage of the TOC Incentive Program to contribute even more affordable units for low-income households.

As of 2019 Q4, 56% of all TOC projects have been located on commercial or vacant lots, meaning that they will not result in the loss of any housing units. An additional 14% of the total universe of TOC projects are likely to result in the replacement of a single-family home with multi-family apartments. We’re again talking about net new housing, an undeniable benefit of the program, and the various ways it is helping to house more Angelenos.

We are doing our part to create new pathways to housing, providing safe, secure, and affordable units for countless individuals and families—many of whom struggle to pay rent. We recognize we can’t do it alone, however.

Affordable Housing

Taking on the lack of affordable housing requires decisive action at the State and local levels. It involves every decision-maker from the Governor and the State Legislature to the Mayor and City Council. In Los Angeles, we also partner with our counterparts at the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID) and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) in order to meet these challenges head-on.

LA has already met or surpassed a number of milestones in 2019. The City has permitted nearly 111,000 housing units since July 1, 2013, surpassing the target set by the City’s 2013-2021 Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA)—as well as Mayor Eric Garcetti’s housing goal of permitting 100,000 new units by 2021.

Of course, there is still much work to be done. Continuing on this path will require diligence on our part, as well as the Mayor and City Council’s support. Together, we will improve the livability, prosperity, and overall sustainability of our neighborhoods for generations to come.

Los Angeles City Planning Department.​

L.A. City’s Transit-Oriented Communities Affordable Housing Incentives Are Working

May 10, 2020

We need to know, what is TOC? Transit-Oriented Communities incentives allow increased density in developments near transit in exchange for a developer including affordable housing. Only where affordable housing is added, TOC allows new developments to increase density, increase size (Floor Area Ratio – FAR), and/or reduce parking. TOC incentives apply only at high-quality transit stations/stops – where two frequent bus lines intersect and at rail stations. The closer to the transit stop, the more TOC incentives apply. Generally, TOC permits market-rate housing (including mixed-use) projects to add on affordable units, though it also allows for all-affordable non-profit housing to build more units. For a more detailed description, see TOC explainers at SBLA or Legal Planet.

TOC was approved by a majority of city voters in 2016. It went into effect in September 2017. At least somewhat based on misperceptions, TOC has received criticism from some reactionary homeowner interests. TOC is the target of a questionable Fix the City lawsuit that seeks to halt the program.

Maybe the nimbys are opposed to TOC because it really works.

According to DCP from 2017 through 2019, L.A. permitted 10,877 new affordable units and 58,437 new market-rate units (overall – TOC and non-TOC.) From 2018 to 2019, affordable housing units proposed are up 160%, and affordable housing units approved are up 130%. TOC is playing a big role in these increases. Since TOC started in late 2017, more than 27,000 new housing units have been permitted under the program.

TOC's impacts on L.A.s development of affordable housing - graphic by L.A. Dept of City Planning

TOC’s impacts on L.A.s development of affordable housing – graphic by L.A. Dept of City Planning


Because TOC bonuses only apply to projects that include specified minimum levels of affordable housing, and because TOC requires minimum of one-to-one replacement of any affordable housing demolished, the program is targeted to minimize displacement. Despite these anti-displacement provisions, TOC is still resulting in some displacement. Notably, TOC is being used by developer Jeff Greene in his plans to redevelop Dorset Village. In that disaster, TOC has streamlined the approvals process, including minimizing opportunities for public input and City Council oversight. More from City Planning on how displacement has been minimized:

Seventeen new units are added to the housing pipeline for every existing unit lost due to the construction of a TOC project, and two of those new units are restricted for low-income families. These numbers don’t reflect the 100% affordable projects that have also taken advantage of the TOC Incentive Program to contribute even more affordable units for low-income households.

As of 2019 Q4, 56% of all TOC projects have been located on commercial or vacant lots, meaning that they will not result in the loss of any housing units. An additional 14% of the total universe of TOC projects are likely to result in the replacement of a single-family home with multi-family apartments. We’re again talking about net new housing, an undeniable benefit of the program, and the various ways it is helping to house more Angelenos.

TOC can’t solve all of L.A.’s problems, but the well-targeted program is making an important difference addresses two big issues: a housing crisis and a need to reduce car use to curb emissions contributing to the climate emergency.

life of an architect

May 8, 2020

Do you want to be an Architect?

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), Intern Development Program (IDP), or what college you should consider attending. Those things have too many moving parts to consider and since I have been licensed for a while now, I don’t keep up with the changes. If you have any questions about college, what sort of classes to take, putting together a portfolio, etc. I would strongly recommend that you contact the school that you would like to attend and get specific and relevant information directly from the source.

If there is a topic you think you would like me to address, please feel free to send your suggestions to me – [email protected]

In the meantime, I hope that this is a resource for those of you looking for some answers. I will do my very best to respond in a timely manner but due to the ​high volume of emails, this is not always possible. Sometimes it’s just the timing and I would recommend that you try sending your email again.

Do you want to be an Architect?

It takes a lot of commitment and desire to become an architect. Nobody becomes an architect because they think it sounds cool or they like to draw. There is a lot more to it and I think it needs to be a calling for you to even think you will experience any measurable success.

Do you think you have what it takes to be an architect?

The College Years

When I tell people who I knew I wanted to be an architect by the time I was 5 years old, they think how lucky that must have been! But am I really so lucky? There was a time when I thought I had made a terrible decision, and I found myself struggling with the classes and the time and effort required just to keep pace with my peers. (but I think this story has a happy ending)


Architecture school is all about the studio. Whether you are new to design studio or a seasoned pro, there are a few things that I thought I would share with all you that dispel some commonly accepted ideas of what architecture studio really requires from its attendees. I think you might be surprised to read a few things on this list but I promise that you will be better off for having read this list.​