Los Angeles Plans To Work With Homeowners To House Homeless People


The homelessness problem is so intense that Los Angeles is now seriously considering the idea of housing homeless people in the backyards of homeowners. Upon first hearing this, some people might think that the government is planning on forcing homeless people onto people's properties without the consent of the homeowners. However, the situation is quite the contrary.

Homeowners would be given a choice as to whether they would want homeless people living on their properties. If a homeowner agreed to have homeless people live on his or her property, the rest of the homeowners on the block would have to be okay with that—not just the homeowner. This is because of the fact that if homeless people are allowed to live on the block without the consent of neighbors, there may be a push back against methods of housing homeless people.

In California, the NIMBY movement consists of people who live in quieter, less over-developed neighborhoods where there are single-family homes. There is a need for more housing, but these people do not want new housing to be developed in their neighborhoods because they feel that it would ruin the aesthetic, character and safety of their neighborhoods. Housing homeless people in the backyards of homeowners would succeed in softening the homelessness crisis while maintaining the quality of life and aesthetic of residential neighborhoods.

Homeless people would be thoroughly screened, and the most stable ones would be allowed to live in homeowners' backyards. They would be given counseling and job training. The homeless people would live in small buildings that are built to be homes with amenities.

Five-hundred homeowners were contacted to take part in Los Angeles' pilot granny flat program. About 100 homeowners responded, and Los Angeles County is in the process of choosing 6 homeowners who will be the participants of the pilot program.

To each homeowner, the pilot program with loan out either $50,000 for bootleg renovations for up to 6 units, or $75,000 to build a backyard house. For every year that a dwelling is occupied by a former-homeless person, the loans will become less and less. After 10 years, the loans will be forgiven and homeowners can do whatever they want with the new structures on their properties. The only problem is that some homeowners may try to kick the homeless people off their properties after that 10 year period is up.

The Board of Supervisors in Los Angeles approved this pilot granny flat program, which would cost $550,000, this past August. This past February, Bloomberg Philanthropies gave Los Angeles County $100,000 to observe how feasible it is to have backyard units for homeless people.