Letters to the Editor: How a glut of ADUs could help fix homelessness in L.A.

A man pushes a grocery cart outside an abandoned Koreatown building where homeless people live
A man walks outside an abandoned Koreatown building where homeless people were living on Dec. 1.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I agree with your editorial on how a new mayor of Los Angeles can tackle homelessness, with one exception.

You frame market-rate and affordable housing as two different things. We can incentivize the creation of naturally occurring market-rate, affordable housing, like the new Housing Diversity Corp. micro-housing development in Hollywood, through streamlining and zoning changes.

Crucial subsidies are getting us 3,000 affordable units in a good year, but L.A. needs 185,000 affordable units. No one subsidizes moderate-income housing, and that’s our largest deficit. We’ve created a system that incentivizes only luxury and a tiny number of deeply affordable units.


Let’s use the ADU (or accessory dwelling unit) model instead. Thousands of units were put into the pipeline almost overnight by making it easier for homeowners to build on their own properties.

We should rooftop-solarize housing. By incentivizing moms and pops to flood the market, we saw rooftop solar take off and prices come down. We should do the same for housing and incentivize more of what we need — small, naturally affordable units.

Lindsay Sturman, Los Angeles

The writer is a member of the Livable Communities Initiative.


To the editor: The editorial neglects to say anything about protecting Los Angeles’ children. Currently, there are supposed to be no encampments within 500 feet of parks and schools, but this rule isn’t enforced adequately.

Families in this city are at the end of their rope. Neighboring towns and cities do not have the same level of encampments in and around parks and schools as we do, and they also have scarcity of affordable housing.


The children of L.A. cannot wait for the entire cycle of homelessness to be addressed. They need safe passage and a safe place to play now.

Daphne Brogdon, Los Angeles


To the editor: Your editorial hit many right notes. As someone who does outreach and engagement with our unhoused neighbors, I want to bring up another issue.

When unhoused individuals get relocated into temporary housing but then are exited (kicked out) or not allowed back in for various reasons, those individuals end up living back out on the street. I would like to know how or if the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority follows up on those individuals.

I agree with Councilwoman Nithya Raman that the city of Los Angeles needs a comprehensive plan to deal with homelessness, not separate Council District plans for distributing services or emphasizing anti-camping enforcement.

Street engagement by paid professionals needs to be applied throughout the city sufficiently while providing more temporary and permanent housing — and this must be done before enforcement.


Jane Demian, Los Angeles


To the editor: One reason people are homeless is because their jobs do not pay enough to cover the rent. What about a living wage and rent control?

Another reason people lose their homes is medical bills. What about universal healthcare?

Susan Nash, Beaumont