California housing crisis podcast: The tiny homes in your backyard

John Gregorchuk standing in the midst of an accessory dwelling unit construction that has been stalled in his backyard, in Los Angeles in August 2016.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Back in 2016, the city of Los Angeles permitted 80 second housing units, or casitas. Just one year later, the figure grew to around 2,000.

Why such a change? The state Legislature passed bills that made it easier for homeowners to build these units, also called accessory dwellings, granny flats or in-law units, by limiting fees and through other means.

On this episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” we talk about all the legislative activity surrounding casitas and why some advocates believe they could be key to helping solve California’s housing shortage. We also discuss why Senate Bill 50, the high-profile legislation to increase apartment construction around transit, advanced in its first legislative committee hearing and what’s next.

Our guests are Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), the author of multiple bills aiming to ease production of casitas, and Stan Acton, a builder in Silicon Valley.


Gimme Shelter,” a biweekly podcast that looks at why it’s so expensive to live in California and what the state can do about it, features Liam Dillon, who covers housing affordability issues for the Los Angeles Times’ Sacramento bureau, and Matt Levin, data and housing reporter for CALmatters.

You can subscribe to “Gimme Shelter” on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast.

How to solve California’s housing shortage? Build ‘granny flats’ in homeowners’ backyards »