Mayor Karen Bass hopes it will make the housing approval process move faster by reducing red tape and extensive reviews.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In an effort to address the city's affordable housing crisis, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass signed an order Wednesday that will offer incentives to get more housing units built for people of all income levels.
Executive Directive No. 7 will remove barriers to housing production, especially for projects that provide affordable housing units.
Bass hopes it will make the housing approval process move faster by reducing red tape and extensive reviews.
"I have talked to developers around the city ... they say one thing: 'It takes too long to get projects done,' and very time there is a delay, it increased the costs," she said during a signing ceremony Wednesday.
According to Los Angeles City Planning's most recent housing needs assessment, the city will need nearly 457,000 new units between 2021 and 2029 - that's about 57,000 new units a year. So far, the city has only approved about 17,000 per year in 2021 and 2022.
Businesses like Kaiser Permanente, which employs 24,000 workers, say they need more housing for their employees.
"We need help to meet the housing needs of a workforce that is already stretched thin after three years of a global pandemic and significant increases in housing," said Michelle Gaskill-Hames, regional president for Kaiser Permanente's Southern California and Hawaii markets.
Bass said a study by the LA Business Council found that the average multifamily unit takes over a year and a half to get its permits to be able to start construction. She said it's also time to look at converting commercial buildings to residential.
"You already see buildings that are vacant, that are boarded up, and so if we see all of this real estate, and we know that the commercial real estate business is in trouble, why not?" she said.
The city currently has more than 7,000 vacant positions - one out of every six city of L.A. jobs. Public works, street services and sanitation are all operating with a vacancy rate of over 20%.
Some feel the high housing costs is one big reason for this.
"How can we convince them to come to work for the city when they know that they will not be able to live in this city?" said City Council President Paul Krekorian.