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Letters to the Editor: The problem with building ‘affordable’ housing in affluent neighborhoods

A new apartment building under construction in the Palms neighborhood of Los Angeles in March 2020.
A new apartment building under construction in the Palms neighborhood of Los Angeles in March 2020.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the Editor: A basic lesson in economics is necessary to correct the huge mistake advanced by your editorial on the housing shortage in Los Angeles.

Your suggestion for solving that problem is to build “affordable” apartments in single family neighborhoods zoned for “affluent, high opportunity communities that have been traditionally closed to denser, more affordable housing.” If that actually happened, those who live in those affluent neighborhoods would move out, lowering the value of those homes. Property taxes would decrease, and taxes on middle and lower-middle income people living in other areas would have to be raised to make up for that loss.

Jerry Freedman, Los Angeles

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To the editor: The overwhelming obstacle blocking the path to more affordable housing construction in Los Angeles is that the numbers just don’t work. The costs of land, permitting, environmental reviews, materials and labor are just too much.

Private developers cannot make a profit on low-income housing, especially in high-opportunity communities where costs are even higher. Massive government subsidies for developers and owners of affordable housing units will be required before any meaningful number of these dwellings can be built.

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Glynn Morris, Play del Rey


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