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Mayor Eric Garcetti proposes addition of 100,000 new housing units in L.A.

Mayor Eric Garcetti laid out a proposal to add 100,000 new housing units in Los Angeles by 2021, saying at a business summit on Wednesday that the city is facing a housing shortage the likes of which has not been seen since the end of World War II.

“Increasing affordability can be accomplished by protecting and growing our stock of affordable housing and by increasing our overall housing supply,” Garcetti said at the Los Angeles Business Council Summit.

Garcetti used the summit’s keynote address to announce he plans to boost the housing stock by cutting red tape at City Hall, such as putting records online, filing blueprints electronically and assigning case managers to development projects, and by increasing the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which provides seed money for projects that can draw more funding from state and federal sources.

Garcetti said he plans to lead “the fight for state and federal housing funds, while at the same time making sure we come to the table with a stake of our own by building up our Affordable Housing Trust Fund.”

Garcetti said the increased units could also be accomplished by creating policy for subsidizing affordable housing property owned by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and rethinking the state’s environmental impact study process.

Los Angeles Business Council President Mary Leslie said their group “enthusiastically supports” Garcetti’s plan.

“We share the mayor’s concern for the working poor and strive to promote equity and economic opportunity in Los Angeles,” Leslie said, adding that “creating a significant new supply of affordable housing units is a pivotal part of a comprehensive economic development strategy for Los Angeles.”

Garcetti has garnered support among the majority of business council members, for his plan to raise the minimum wage, though the hike would need to be part of a broader set of policies to improve the economy, according to a release from the group.

Some of the economic policies members of the business council hope to see from Garcetti and other city leaders is more funding for the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, some changes and exceptions to the minimum wage proposal, a reduction in the city’s gross receipts tax, and measures encouraging denser housing around public transit hubs.

Psomas President Jacob Lipa, who chairs the council said that “reversing our shortage of affordable housing is critical to keeping Los Angeles attractive for both employers and talented workers.”

“Working with urgency to address this challenge must be a top priority for our region to remain economically competitive,” Lipa said.

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