LA Mayor Karen Bass signs directive to speed up affordable housing projects

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass says one of the reasons there isn’t enough housing for the homeless in the city is because of all the hurdles facing developers.

It can take years to get started even if you have the funding.

In Boyle Heights, the Lorena Plaza – a 49-unit housing development – broke ground in November after the project was stalled for years.

“Hearings take more than three months, over 30 clearances – some take as long as three weeks involving multiple city departments,” said Dora Gallo, CEO of A Community of Friends, a nonprofit developer behind the Lorena Plaza project. “This experience among affordable housing developers is not unique, but it is so unnecessary.”

Bass is working to cut the red tape and speed up the building process. On Friday, she signed an executive directive at the Lorena Plaza site.

“If you build affordable housing under my executive directive, the city will complete the approval process within 60 days. Then, when construction starts, the permit utility and certificate of occupancy process will be completed in just five days,” Bass said. “That’s five days for 100% affordable housing projects and in no more than two days for temporary housing. That is the urgency we need at City Hall and that is what we are delivering.”

Bass says in the past, the bureaucracy and high costs caused developers to build a smaller number of units than what the city needs.

“Since we know that people were scaling the projects down because of the red tape, I absolutely want to go back and see if there might be the potential to go and revisit,” Bass said.

Also on Friday, the city of Lancaster issued their own emergency declaration against what they call Bass’ plan to move some of L.A.’s homeless to the Antelope Valley. Bass’ office says her words during an interview from eight months ago have been taken out of context.

“If she has withdrawn her plans to do that, she should have the courtesy to call and tell us,” Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris said. “What we have seen is a history, a 10-year history of L.A. shipping their homeless to Lancaster and Palmdale.””We’re trying to get housing built in the city of Los Angeles, so I’m not sure what that was, sounds a little bit like a stunt,” Bass said. “But, nobody has said anything about moving anybody to Lancaster.”