Scaling Up Housing on Public Land
Fmr. Ass. GM, Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department
Prior to Helmi’s departure from 20 years of public service in a variety of leadership roles in community development and housing in Los Angeles, she presented a proposal to City leadership for how to leverage publicly-owned land to its fullest extent possible and help set the ground work for scaling equitable housing production by 25x – a recent goal mandated by the State of California. The City’s Housing and Community Development Department (“HCID”) plays an integral role in new affordable housing development in the City, acting as construction lender with a $1.9 billion loan portfolio and the compliance regulator on more than 40,000 covenant-restricted units across the City. The proposal expands the role of the City from being more than just a bank of last resort and regulator to being the housing development project initiator, internally selecting and preparing up to 300 acres of public land per year (zoned and shovel ready), giving a much needed boost for the development eco-system to reach economies of scale in production to drive down the cost of housing for everyone. The State has funded the launch of a pilot project for 1,000 new units on public land, it is now up to the City to come together and scale up.