The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) board announced their intention help turn surplus, vacant, and underused land over to developers for building temporary or permanent shelter for the homeless.
Typically, LA Metro’s excess land is snapped up by developers looking to take advantage of Transit-Oriented-Development (TOD) bonuses designed to build luxury or market rate apartments.
The new initiative, which has broad support from affordable housing and other community advocates, could potentially be used to create 10,000 affordable housing units.
The agency’s policy shift comes as Los Angeles continues to grapple with a housing crisis. In December, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass declared the issue a city-wide emergency on homelessness. Since then, the city has worked to create a list of all city-owned property that is vacant, surplus, or underutilized to determine the suitability for housing or shelter for those experiencing homelessness.
Leading the motion in her new role as a Metro board member, the mayor discussed the practical rationale behind Metro’s role in creating solutions.
“Everyone knows that about 1,000 people take shelter on Metro (trains and buses) every day who are homeless,” said Bass. “The idea of Metro property being used for affordable housing is part of that continuum.”
Last calculated approximately three years ago, the agency’s property holdings will be updated to include unused land near train stations and empty parking lots.
Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins has been ordered to report back to the board’s executive management committee with a list of feasible properties for housing, and a full report on how to streamline the transfer of property is expected to come to the full board at the end of April.