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Garcetti announces goals - but no details - on ending LA's housing crisis

Mayor Eric Garcetti answers the media's questions outside Council Chamber.
Alice Walton/KPCC
Mayor Eric Garcetti set a goal Wednesday of building 100,000 new housing units by 2021.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti this week highlighted policies he said would improve housing affordability in the nation's least affordable housing market - though he was mum how to implement them or what his timeline would be.

Unlike New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who has made affordable housing a top priority of his administration, Garcetti has not until now made much of a push on the issue.

Instead, Garcetti has been tackling poverty principally though a proposal to increase the minimum wage from $9 to $13.25 an hour. That proposal is currently stalled in a city committee until at least February, waiting on an economic report.

Garcetti outlined four goals during his speech at the Mayoral Housing, Transportation and Jobs Summit at UCLA Wednesday:

  • Build 100,000 housing units by 2021
  • Replenish the city's Affordable Housing Trust Fund
  • Develop housing on sites owned by Metro 
  • Reform the state's environmental review process

"There's nothing more fundamental to our families and to our neighborhoods than a home. A home that is affordable, that is safe and that is quality," Garcetti said. He added that the city's housing shortage is the worst since World War II.
A recent report from the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate found Los Angeles is the least affordable housing market in America. The average renter in the city devotes 47 percent of his paycheck to rent. 

An advocate for tenants' rights and affordable housing who attended the event was glad to hear Garcetti's talk about housing. He said bringing up wages alone isn't enough.

"For low-wage earners, providing one without the other is an inadequate formula," said Larry Gross with the Coalition for Economic Survival. "Without the wage increase, you can't afford the housing - and without the affordable housing, the wage increase will only go to the landlord."

But he also has a lot of questions about how Garcetti is going to deliver on those plans. Garcetti did not return calls for comment and his office said it couldn't provide any details beyond his speech.

This post has been updated.