Category Archives: Housing

California Housing

Homelessness has been an issue in California for many years with potential solutions constantly being drummed up.  Now though Airbnb has gotten involved in this issue with its recent pledge to invest $25 million which would be put toward the goal of creating affordable housing in California.  In the past, money has been put toward the problem from large corporations including Facebook, Google and Microsoft as well.

This money would be put in the two states most severely impacted by rising housing costs and increased homelessness: San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

The Trump administration recently arrived in LA to form a deeper comprehension of the homeless camps there.  Over the summer, the city’s Mayor asked the President to tour the streets of LA that he believes are home to over 35,000 people each night.

Another solution is rent caps which was approved by state legislators and will impact millions of tenants.  This has been one of the most significant initiatives taken to address affordable housing as it limits annual rent increase to 5 percent after inflation as well as implementing new impediments to eviction.  This would lead to greater rental security as well.  This legislation was reinforced by Governor Gavin Newsom who has prioritized tenant protection in his first year in office.

LA: The Housing Crisis

For years Los Angeles has faced a crisis of an inordinate amount of homeless individuals.  Many solutions have been proposed and executed over the years but still the problem remains.  Here we take a look at some of the latest news on this subject.

In 2018 21,631 homeless individuals were housed.  The amount of tax dollars used on this (millions) was 23 percent more than in the year before.  Still, this accounted for a doubling of the amount of individuals housed in 2014.

The question therefore remains though, why are there still so many people living on the streets, in vehicles and shelters of LA?  In 2018 the homeless figure increased 12 percent, rendering 59,000 LA county individuals homeless.

A new proposal by the LA City Council has just been voted in which could make matters a whole lot worse.  A prohibition against sleeping in vehicles in many parts of LA is to be put in place.  The rules make it clear that individuals will not be allowed to spend the night in their cars on residential streets or make their vehicles their homes “within a block of a park, school, preschool or day care facility.”

This ruling has angered many local activists who argued at the City Hall that such a measure was “counterproductive” to the 9,500+ individuals currently making their homes in this way.

City Council Funding

There have been a few approvals for councils for funding to facilitate, aid and enhance certain neighborhoods in LA.  In this article, we take a look at two of the recent ones.

Last week, a committee meeting of the Los Angeles City Council approved the framework of a policy that will administer the monies and application of the districts that are financed by the residents.  With this, community projects in needy neighborhoods will get the much-needed funds for such programs. Supervising this will be the EIFDs (Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts).

What is most welcome about the funding is that according to the office of the Chief Legislative Analyst, an increase in residents’ property taxes will not occur.  instead, a slice of the annual property tax hike will into a board (three Mayor-appointed council members; two council-appointed members of the public) governed independent fund.

In other news, Skid Row will be getting a large amount of money for extra services.  $2.7 million has been earmarked for homeless services in the area following the finding of the 16 percent increase in population there.  That money will be put toward: storage center upgrades (for homeless to store belongings), two additional teams of outreach workers, water fountains and attended restrooms.

Skid Row is the address of the most amount of homeless people in LA.  While money is directed there a lot (the city received $85 million in emergency funding from the state in 2018), the problems there run deep.

LA Housing Market

It does seem – at least at first glance – that LA’s housing prices are somewhat inflated.  But perhaps not.  ECSquared takes a look at what makes LA such a great place to live and why the current situation is that those selling properties are actually being shortchanged.

LA: Real Estate

When looking to purchase (or sell) property in Los Angeles County, it is beneficial to get an overview of the amount of sales; what the going rate is and the current market inventory.  In this video, Mike Weber, a broker from Keller Williams, speaks on these matters within the current ebbs and flows of the market.

Solving the LA Housing Crisis

Historically, housing has been a problem in California.  Getting affordable housing is a bit like finding a four-leaved clover or finding a needle in a haystack; it just does not happen very often.  And then for those who do manage to secure a good landlord with a reasonable price, if they then have to move, they need to start the process all over again.

Enter Elvina Beck, founder and CEO of Podshare.  An ambitious Soviet Union immigrant, she grew up believing “there [was] nothing [she] couldn’t do.”  And so she created Podshare to solve the LA housing crisis.  She explains:

“PodShare offers co-living across the city of Los Angeles for one affordable rate. Our custom built ‘pods’ are a re-design of the American bunk bed, and our layout is set for the maximum number of social collisions and security. We are currently in DTLA Arts District, Los Feliz, Hollywood/Vine and opening Venice in April 2017. With 3 locations on the East side, and our first on the West side, we plan to expand to a total of 10 LA county locations to become the first subscription-based housing model. Imagine going to sleep off Hollywood Blvd., jumping on the WIFI in the Arts District, sunbathing in Venice, popping your big jacket into a locker in Los Feliz and grabbing a bicycle, shower, food in the kitchen, and meeting friends from all over the world for $50 a night.

Like a gym membership for shared living or a Euro-rail pass to a flexible, affordable, and centrally located place to live and work – PodShare’s goal is to expand to San Francisco and San Diego in order to allow freelancers, digital nomads, travelers, and apartment hunters try living in different places before they settle down for an annual lease or maybe then never do and PodShare becomes the new mobile home?”

PodShare opened its fifth location in L.A. this year and is increasing in popularity.  Tenants usually have their own bed-areas (pods) but share public space like kitchens, bathrooms, living space.  Rent is substantially lower and the buildings are generally managed by a company different from the owner – often a local developer.

One happy customer – Nadya Hewitt claims she would never be able to afford the area without PodShare.  She said:

“Oh my gosh. I’ve looked at studio apartments in this area, in Hollywood, downtown. I mean we’re looking at almost $2,000 a month.”