Abundant Housing LA is a grassroots nonprofit organization working to solve Southern California’s housing crisis by advocating for more housing at all levels of affordability. AHLA envisions a Los Angeles County and region where everyone can find a home they can afford, that meets their needs, in their neighborhood of choice, and where we can live in sustainable and diverse communities that are not car-dependent.
To realize this vision, we need housing abundance. We believe housing abundance is a necessary precondition to progress on issues we care about:
- Affordability: we believe that nobody should have to spend more than a third of their income on housing, and that building more homes will make housing more affordable.
- Human Rights: we believe that housing is a human right, and that Los Angeles’ mass street homelessness is a human rights violation that is a direct consequence of the city’s housing shortage. We have a moral obligation to house everyone.
- Livability: we believe that people should be able to live in pleasant, walkable neighborhoods near jobs, with a high quality of life.
- Inclusion: we believe that people should be able to find housing that meets their needs at every phase of life, without having to leave their neighborhood.
- Sustainability: we believe that legalizing walkable urban density to limit sprawl, preserve habitat, reduce car dependency and fossil fuel use, and ensure climate resilience is critical to ensuring the long term health of our planet.
- Racial justice: we believe that the housing shortage is rooted in a long history of racist practices designed to maintain segregation, and that it is impossible to redress America’s history of systemic racism without addressing housing policy.
Creating housing abundance without exacerbating displacement or harming vulnerable tenants requires a four-part policy approach. We need to legalize more homes by reforming zoning to end apartment bans. We must also reform permitting processes to make homes easier to build. To prevent displacement and protect tenants from market swings, we have to strengthen renters’ rights. Finally, we have an obligation to fund affordable housing and end homelessness.
We work toward a Los Angeles with abundant, inexpensive housing near good jobs and convenient, sustainable transportation by supporting reforms to land use laws like zoning codes, by speaking in favor of new housing projects, and by doing research and public education on the benefits of more housing. We support a holistic, development-without-displacement approach, and work towards more public funds to build subsidized affordable housing.
SB 4—also known as the Yes in God’s Back Yard bill—gives nonprofit colleges and churches, mosques and other faith institutions the right to build affordable housing on their land. Many faith and charitable institutions have excess land that could accommodate affordable housing but have been held back by the current zoning laws in their cities. SB 4 removes these barriers and streamlines the process so these institutions can begin providing some of the affordable housing
California so desperately needs. “SB 4 will open up 170,000 acres of land for affordable housing. It’s a game changer,” tweeted Senator Wiener.
Read more about SB 4 here:
- LA Churches Want To Build Housing That Ends Homelessness. What’s Stopping Them? (LAist, 6/28/23)
- California churches, nonprofit colleges could build homes on their land with proposed law (LA Times, December 6, 2022)
- Editorial: Religious institutions want to build affordable housing. Say ‘Yes in God’s Backyard’ (LA Times, December 27, 2022)
“The Core Four are like columns that support a house. All four need to be strong for the house to stand. The house also needs a solid foundation; in our case, the foundation is the goal of promoting racial justice and equity.
Similarly, while cities should adopt as many pro-housing reforms as possible, it is also important to implement some policies from each of the four categories, in order to solve the housing crisis while promoting racial justice and equity.”