Los Angeles to Pay Residents to House the Homeless


There always seems to be more to talk about when it comes to the homeless crisis in California. For example, the past month has brought a judicial pronouncement granting homeless people the right to camp in public parks without being fined. Also, a major city just purchased an old indoor skydiving center to house and assist the homeless. What will people think of next? Apparently, it involves being paid to allow the homeless to camp in your backyard.

In Los Angeles, officials just approved a budget of $550,000 to build small houses in the backyards of city residents. The funds are also allowed to be used to upgrade garages and grant legal status to illegally converted garages to house the homeless. If a property owner is then willing to allow a homeless person or a homeless family to live in the small shelter, Los Angeles will then pay the property owner.

The money approved will be almost exclusively used to create dwellings for the homeless. Once these dwellings are occupied, low-income vouchers will be used to pay the property owners. Under the current laws, low-income vouchers require a tenant to contribute 30% of their income to the program. The city then picks up the bill for the rest of the rent.

Naturally, the idea of the city paying people to live on pieces of property that are already ridiculously small seems a little bit crazy. However, many city officials feel California is simply running out of options when it comes to housing. With more and more people moving to California for lucrative work in technology industries, California is simply running out of places to put people. This is especially true of people forced out of their neighborhoods due to gentrification.

The new proposal is also more financially effective than the previous legislation to help homelessness. Los Angeles voters recently approved $1.2 billion for homeless housing, but at $350,000 a piece, the units are frightfully expensive to build. This new proposal can allow local residents to quickly build a unit that will only cost the city about $13,000 every three years to fund.

Hopefully, this new project will be a success. This could be a great way to house the homeless, reduce gentrification, and provide supplemental income to struggling families. What are your thoughts about this radical new program in Los Angeles? Let us know your thoughts about it in the comments below!