More than 7,000 affordable housing units have been expedited across LA, city says

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Tuesday, September 19, 2023
City says more affordable housing units are being expedited
The city says 7,000 affordable housing units have been expedited through "Executive Directive 1," including The Wilcox in East Hollywood, which offers permanent supportive housing for senior citizens.

EAST HOLLYWOOD (KABC) -- More money to build affordable housing isn't the only way out of the homeless crisis, and the city of Los Angeles thinks they're making progress on another key component: cutting red tape to speed up the building and permitting process, saving developers money.

"You have the building and safety department, your plan check, you have your transportation review, you have your housing department, your city planning department, your engineering department for the sidewalks," said Kevin Keller, the senior advisor Mayor Karen Bass.

Those are all separate departments with their own review process that are now organized in a more efficient way, thanks to "Executive Directive 1" (also known as ED1), which could become permanent.

Nine months into the directive, the city says 7,000 units have been expedited, including at The Wilcox in East Hollywood with 62 units of permanent supportive housing for L.A.'s senior citizens, one of the fastest growing populations of the unhoused.

The affordable housing developer Wakeland Housing and Development Corp. says it's now able to open The Wilcox two months early, saving them $1 million that would have gone to interest payments on building loans and builders risk insurance.

"ED1 helped with coordination with the L.A. Department of Water and Power, allowing us to actually get power here to be able to move people in," said Wakeland CEO Rebecca Louie during an event on Monday. "It expedited the waiver of the parks and recs fee, taking days compared to months. It helped with the highway dedication process with the bureau of engineering, allowing it several weeks instead of six months or more that it could have taken."

Charissa Wilson, who has been sleeping at The Midnight Mission in Skid Row, told Eyewitness News she will be one of the first tenants at the Wilcox.

"When I'm in my bunk, I can see everyone that's in the dorms, so it'll be nice to have some privacy," she said. "I'm looking forward to be able to go to the grocery store and cooking a meal for myself."