Crisis. A term quite commonly used, particularly in Los Angeles when the topic turns to homelessness and lack of affordable housing. Make no mistake though, LA is indeed in a crisis, and the debate continues on how to effectively eradicate these issues. On December 13, 2017, the Affordable Housing Linkage Fee ordinance was ceremoniously passed in City Council, a landmark decision that will drastically impact the way LA tackles the crisis. In a time of depleted federal grants and other sources, the newly adopted linkage fee, the City’s first permanent funding source for affordable housing, is expected to bring in roughly $100 million by the time it becomes in full effect by 2019.
Known as the linkage fee because of the “link” between market rate housing and commercial development to the need for affordable housing, this geographically-based tool will require developers to pay a fee of up to $15 for every square foot of new construction. Fees will range from $1 to $15 based on the type of project and area, with the higher fees levied on “high market” areas like Hollywood and Downtown LA. Exemptions from the fee include schools, hospitals, residential projects under 1,500 square feet, and buildings with a set number of low to moderate income housing units.
The idea of the linkage fee was a hotly debated topic and long championed by Mayor Eric Garcetti and HCIDLA, and is estimated to add approximately 1,500 units of affordable housing per year. It’s by no means the sole answer to the problem that requires a multi-pronged approach, but the implementation of this ordinance will allow Angelenos to associate the homeless and affordable housing crisis with a much different word. Hope.