Short answer: 1,850 units or 7% of the housing stock

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The City of West Hollywood just released a tally of “affordable housing” units. They are units (or rent subsidies) set aside for eligible lower-income households. They offer below-market rents and, in some cases, supportive services.

To be precise, those units are not the only affordable ones in the city. Some units are naturally affordable, because of their size, location, age, etc. It depends on the unit, the household’s income, and how long they’ve been there. Long-term tenants in rent-stabilized units often enjoy more affordable rents than new tenants get.

Naturally affordable units aren’t included in the City’s tally or in this report. To avoid any confusion, we’re not going to use the term “affordable housing.” Instead, we’ll borrow a British term, “social housing.” We’re including:

  • Section 8: Units subsidized by the Federal government, either for a specific household or for a block of low-income housing units
  • Non-profit: Housing provided by a non-profit organization (often with government help) for groups such as seniors, people with disabilities, or the formerly homeless, sometimes with supportive services such as case management, therapy, and education
  • LA County/HUD: Buildings operated by the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles
  • Inclusionary: The 20% of units in new market-rate buildings that the City requires developers to set aside for lower-income households


Number of social housing units

The city currently has 1,850 social housing units. That’s 7% of the total housing stock. Almost half of the units, 860, are subsidized by the Federal government’s Section 8 program. Of those, 150 are in one privately-owned building on Fairfax.

About a quarter of the units are provided by non-profits and a fifth by the County. The remaining 10% (187) are inclusionary units associated with new housing developments.

201610-social-housing-pie

Sources: City of West Hollywood, staff report to the City Council, “Information on properties removed from the rental market using the Ellis Act, subsequent new construction, and affordable housing,” October 17, 2016; California Department of Finance housing estimate for January 1, 2016; our analysis.


Social housing in the pipeline

According to the City, another 136 inclusionary units are under construction. In addition, 107 inclusionary and non-profit units are approved but not yet under construction. Together, that would be a 13% increase in social housing, faster growth than the overall housing supply (see our earlier report).

201610-social-housing-pipeline

Sources: Same as above.


Social housing opportunities for current residents

The City offers information for potential social housing tenants here. For example, eligible households can add their names to the moderate-income waiting list for inclusionary units. The maximum one-person-household income for the moderate-income waiting list is $59,232. For other kinds of social housing, the one-person maximum might be $47,386, $29,616, or even $17,770.

Half of the city’s households could be eligible for some form of social housing, based on the $59,232 figure and a quick look at Census numbers (American Community Survey, 2010-2014, Table S1901). But social housing represents only 7% of the city’s housing stock.

According to City policy, West Hollywood residents have priority for inclusionary units. We don’t know how many of today’s inclusionary tenants previously lived in West Hollywood. As of a few years ago, 59% of them were prior residents and 41% weren’t. The non-residents were split equally between Los Angeles residents living near West Hollywood and people who lived farther away.

Source: City of West Hollywood, Rent Stabilization and Housing, Annual Report 2012, p. 25.


http://wehobythenumbers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/201610-social-housing-pie.jpghttp://wehobythenumbers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/201610-social-housing-pie-300x300.jpgDavid WarrenHousingPerformance (effectiveness)low income,renting
Short answer: 1,850 units or 7% of the housing stock| The City of West Hollywood just released a tally of 'affordable housing' units. They are units (or rent subsidies) set aside for eligible lower-income households. They offer below-market rents and, in some cases, supportive services. To be precise, those units...