Affordable housing is scarce, and most residential land in California — and in the United States, in general — is zoned for single-family residences. That’s certainly the case across Los Angeles County, where million-dollar houses abound and the median price of a home is $795,000. That’s more like a California nightmare for people trying to find a reasonably priced home to buy or rent. And the predicament is drastically worse for the roughly 66,000 homeless people in the County of Los Angeles who don’t have anything approximating a home with walls and a door.
In an effort to spur more desperately needed housing, the California Legislature this year finally passed two smart and reasonable bills — Senate Bills 9 and 10 — that will allow a modicum of increased density. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed them into law in September and they take effect on Jan. 1. SB 9 allows up to four units of housing on a single-family lot. SB 10 would allow — but not mandate — a local government to rezone land, including single-family lots, to allow a building of 10 units or less. The property would have to be urban infill or near public transit.