Inner City Law Center and Coalition Oppose Exclusion of Wealthy Single-Family Areas from Los Angeles Rezone Plans

Inner City Law Center cautions Los Angeles will not meet its housing goals if the city moves forward with the currently proposed rezoning plan, which would exclude single-family areas from rezoning

Los Angeles, CA (May 20, 2024) – On Monday, May 20th, a coalition of forty-five housing organizations led by Inner City Law Center, Abundant Housing LA and SCANPH submitted a letter to the Los Angeles Department of City Planning expressing significant concerns about the latest draft of the city’s proposed rezoning plan.

The main point of contention is the current plan’s exclusion of wealthy single-family neighborhoods from rezoning, effectively giving them a pass on doing their fair share to address the critical demand for affordable and mixed-income multi-family housing, preventing the equitable distribution of the new housing supply, and continuing the harmful and racist legacy of single-family zoning.

“We are very concerned that the city is not meeting the commitments it made in its last housing element update and we are concerned that the city will not be able to successfully further fair housing without including single-family zones in its rezone program. We strongly believe that its time that wealthy communities build their fair share of affordable housing rather than preserving exclusionary single-family zones that were created to preserve segregation and continue to do so,” said Mahdi Manji, Policy Director at Inner City Law Center.

The coalition letter explains, “Our position is simple: without fundamentally changing zoning to allow for a dramatic increase in multi-family housing throughout this City, we will never be able to truly address the critical shortage of affordable housing and reverse historic patterns of segregation.”

“The Housing Element Rezone is a huge opportunity for the City of Los Angeles to expand affordable housing development and address the housing and homelessness crisis within our communities. While the draft ordinances are a step in the right direction, they do not meet the urgent needs of LA’s housing landscape. To truly tackle LA’s affordable housing crisis, we must implement bold zoning reforms that unlock all neighborhoods to multi-family housing. We look forward to working with the City family to push for the reforms necessary to address our affordable housing crisis,” said Tiffany Spring, Policy Manager at Southern California Association of NonProfit Housing (SCANPH).

A recent LABC poll found that 66% of Angelenos favor building new apartments for low- to moderate-income residents in neighborhoods currently zoned for single-family homes. Research from the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative shows that lack of access to affordable housing is the primary cause of homelessness and the last housing element update found that most projects using local incentive programs include homes for extremely low-income families.

“With its ambitious rezoning program, Los Angeles has the power to finally reverse decades-long patterns of racial and economic segregation, while creating the housing abundance Angelenos so desperately need. But to meet its housing production and equity obligations, LA must allow new housing opportunities in areas currently zoned for only single-family homes. In Los Angeles, we pride ourselves on being a city open to all. It’s time our zoning rules reflected those inclusive values,” said Scott Epstein, Director of Policy and Research at Abundant Housing LA.

Los Angeles has a clear and decisive decision to make: Preserve 74% of residentially zoned land for single-family zoning along with the segregation it enforces or challenge the status quo by reversing historic patterns of segregation and building a Los Angeles for all of our residents, young and old, poor and rich, Black, Latino, Asian, White, and Indigenous.


About Inner City Law Center

Founded in 1980, Inner City Law Center is a nonprofit, poverty-law firm working to end the homelessness crisis by providing free legal services to the most vulnerable residents of Los Angeles. It is the only legal aid organization with headquarters in Skid Row.

Inner City Law Center’s staff of more than 130 (including 70 lawyers), together with hundreds of volunteers, fight for people facing eviction, struggling with landlord harassment, fighting to secure their veteran or disability benefits, or standing up to slum housing conditions.

Contact: Jacqueline Burbank, Communications Manager, or (213) 947-7902