LA County Plans to Pay Homeowners to House the Homeles

Homelessness is a huge problem in Los Angeles County and things are currently getting worse. Statistics show that the rate of homelessness has increased by approximately 23 percent compared to 2016, and there are now more than 55,000 people sleeping rough on the streets and along the LA River. In an effort to help alleviate the county's huge homeless problem, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently approved a pilot program that will pay some homeowners to house homeless people on their own properties.

The program, which is one of 47 strategies to lower the homeless population that Los Angeles County announced last year, will allow some homeowners in unincorporated communities to receive money to either build a second dwelling on their property or to renovate existing second dwellings. Homeowners who qualify and live in areas that are zoned to allow second dwellings will be able to receive $75,000 to build a new second dwelling or $50,000 to modernize an existing building and bring it in line with all applicable building codes and regulations. In order to be considered a second dwelling, the building must include a kitchen, which means that the vast majority of guest houses won't qualify under the new program.

There is no doubt that the program has the potential to get at least some homeless people off of the streets, but for now, the total funding for the pilot program is limited to only $550,000. This means that the county will have money to pay for two to three new second dwellings to be built and also for another two or three buildings to be updated. Of course, it is likely that the funding could be expanded in the future should the pilot program prove to be successful. LA County officials state that they hope the program and the buildings to be complete within 18 months, at which time they will then perform research to evaluate the program's effectiveness.

This new pilot program is just one of the many ways that Los Angeles County is attempting to tackle the homeless problem. Only recently voters approved two additional measures that should help to raise money to assist with the issue. In March, LA County voters approved Measure H, which is a quarter-cent sales tax that is expected to raise approximately $355 million a year over 10 years, and this money will be used to help homeless people transition into planned housing. Voters also recently approved Proposition HHH, which is a parcel tax that will raise an estimated $1.2 billion in order to build 10,000 housing units.

Los Angeles has long been famous for its incredibly high homeless population. The California weather obviously makes it easier to be homeless, but there is nothing easy about spending a night on the infamous Skid Row. For this reason, it is nice to see that officials are finally attempting to provide some relief to the thousands that are forced to sleep out on the streets.