L.A. County Wants to Build Guest Houses for Homeless People in Property Owners’ Backyards

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“Not in my backyard” protests helped block homeless housing in Temple City, delayed it in Boyle Heights and, last month, killed Orange County’s plan to relocate homeless people to shelters.

Trent Wolbe in his Highland Park backyard, where a city-sponsored second home is under construction. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Trent Wolbe in his Highland Park backyard, where a city-sponsored second home is under construction. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Now, Los Angeles officials want to turn NIMBYism on its head — by paying property owners to put houses for homeless people in their backyards.

In August, the county Board of Supervisors approved a $550,000 pilot program to build a handful of small backyard houses, or upgrade illegally converted garages, for homeowners who agree to host a homeless person or family. Then in February, Bloomberg Philanthropies awarded L.A. a $100,000 Mayor’s Challenge grant to study the feasibility of backyard homeless units within the city limits.

Rents under the county’s pilot program would be covered by low-income vouchers, with tenants contributing 30% of their incomes. The county is also sponsoring a design competition, streamlining permits and providing technical aid and financing options.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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