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LA City Council Greenlights Master Leasing Program to Tackle Homelessness Crisis

Unanimous Vote Sets Stage for Different Approach to Expand Housing Options

The Los Angeles City Council came one step closer to implementing a “master leasing” program aimed at expanding the availability of housing for unhoused residents, as reported by City News Service. This approach, already in use by LA County, involves securing all or part of an apartment building on a long-term lease, followed by subleasing the units to unhoused individuals or families, along with the provision of supportive services.

Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky initially proposed the adoption of the master leasing approach in December 2022. With the recent council approval, city staff is now tasked with preparing contract terms and benchmarks to execute the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s (LAHSA) Master Leasing Program. The initiative will commence with a pilot program in Yaroslavsky’s Fifth District, covering West L.A. neighborhoods and other feasible sites.

Given the limited availability of interim housing sites for the general unhoused population in her district, Yaroslavsky emphasized that the master leasing plan could effectively address a significant need with prompt action. Highlighting LA County and LAHSA’s successful launch of a master-leasing initiative in November 2023, she pointed out that they leased and filled 105 units within three months, with an additional 530-plus units in the pipeline.

“I hope that we will move with the appropriate urgency to quickly realize and get the program off the ground,” Yaroslavsky stated.

The city administrative officer is assigned the responsibility of identifying funding for the pilot program and potential citywide expansion. Additionally, the city attorney and the CAO’s risk management team will examine the existing agreement between LAHSA and the county to assess risks and liabilities and develop plans to address any issues.

In a related development, the city’s chief legislative analyst recently reported that units leased and rented through the program beyond June 2027 will contribute towards the city’s “Alliance” settlement goals.

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