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There should also be an exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In many cases, CEQA lawsuits can take years to adjudicate over what are often trivial issues. Because this population would not have many cars, there could be a modification for off-street parking requirements. Staff and visitors would have to be accommodated, but there need not be spaces for all the residents as they were homeless and most would be unlikely own automobiles.
Since this would ultimately be a government run project, there should be no permit or fee costs as this would only be charged back to the government anyway in the form of leasing costs. If the density is worked out by statute, the permit process should be ministerial only. This will reduce the NIMBY-ism, but more importantly reduce costs by expediting the development of the project.
As for the investment return or “ROI,” this would be a function of how much rent would be charged. The actual lease terms would be agreed to in advance. Under this proposal, the government would not have to expend any money on the front end as it would simply pay the monthly rent for the agreed lease term once the project is completed. The developer would assume the risk of getting the project completed. This is not a charity program, but a true public-private partnership utilizing the best of what each has to offer.
The goal of the transitional housing would be
getting “folks” off the street. If enough transitional and homeless housing is built, we could erase the blight of homeless folks sleeping on the street. As the law currently stands, if the government can provide a place to live, they can remove a person from off the street. The social services needed to make this system work again would fall back on the government, as it already does. Better they sleep inside than on the street. Things like pets and other issues would all have to be addressed by the government.
For the permanent housing component, this could be managed by the Housing Authority and again, have the units leased under a triple net lease. The government could contract for the management but getting the housing built would prove a welcome change. There are a few nonprofit groups that provide services to “formerly the homeless” while in permanent housing. LeaseUp Los Angeles through People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) provides these services today. PATH could partner with government to service the tenants who might still require “wrap-around” services such as counseling and healthcare. PATH also offers protections to property owners in the form of insurance and financial incentives. (Their website is leaseupla.org).
By capturing the best of both, public-private partnerships have proven to be far more efficient and practical.
 The author, Roderick Wright, is a former member of the California State Senate and Assembly. He developed affordable housing with the Inner-City Housing Corporation. He worked in the Planning Department of the City of Los Angeles and has worked on housing and energy issues in both the public and private sectors. He also worked at the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). Mr. Wright has been a rental property owner for over 40 years and is also a member of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles and the Coalition of Small Rental Property Owners.
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