The Mayor of Los Angeles announced today that he wants to build 20,000 units of affordable housing in that city over the next five years. The cost will be high, somewhere near Five billion dollars. He hopes to raise the money from the Federal government (a hard task considering the state of things), charities, and philanthropists. He recognizes it will be a hard road, but he also realizes that something needs to be done.
LA is one of the cities with the highest rent costs in the nation. It has 44,000 homeless people–the largest population of homeless in the nation. Some of the new housing units would be devoted to the homeless in an attempt to deal with the problem of people on the streets. High housing (renting and buying) prices keep people from moving to Los Angeles and cause people who work there to have to commute long distances from the cheaper suburbs.
I think this is a great idea. There should be more government involvement in providing affordable housing for people with lower incomes–or anyone for that matter. The structure don’t have to be glamorous, only functional. It will be a difficult process, especially if the financial situation continues to worsen, but it is a noble and worthwhile effort to undertake. It’s nice to see any city take the initiative and propose something like this. Now all we can do is sit back, offer support in any way we can, and hope that it works out. Chances are it will not–there is always something to kill a great idea–but we have to hope. Sometimes it feels like that’s all we have left.