Our Stories

Support for Prop JJJ - A tool for building an inclusive, diverse Los Angeles

Proposition JJJ, also known as Build Better LA (BBLA), will help address two of Los Angeles’ most pressing problems: lack of affordable housing, and lack of good-paying jobs. It is a voluntary program that incentivizes developers to include some affordable housing in their projects, and agree that a percentage of the construction jobs go to local residents who face barriers to employment - such as veterans, single parents and young people coming out of the foster care system. Public Counsel enthusiastically supports the passage of Prop JJJ this fall election cycle.  

Prop JJJ will not stop development. Instead, it requires that a developer who wants to build at densities higher than presently authorized by the zoning code be required to include some affordable housing. California state law already rewards residential housing developers who include affordable housing in their projects with increased densities based on the percentage of units and the income of the potential residents. Prop JJJ adapts this policy to the specific housing challenges of Los Angeles and ensures that a portion of new housing development will be affordable to Angelenos currently priced out of the market.  Prop JJJ is limited to developments seeking certain allowances from the City – it does not apply to all development. 

Local planning policies that align increased density with affordable housing – sometimes called “value capture policies” –  are recognized across the country as important tools for ensuring low-income households aren’t priced out of their neighborhoods. They are the types of policies called for in our City’s general plan, and by the LA Times (see Times editorial HERE).

Prop JJJ is sorely needed. The numbers tell the story. The California Housing Partnership Corporation recently reported that Los Angeles County needs more than 500,000 below-market rental homes. A 2014 UCLA study found that Los Angeles is the least affordable rental market in the country. Across L.A., more than 20,000 rent-controlled units have been taken off the market since 2001 – many demolished to make way for luxury housing or turned into illegal short-terms rentals on sites like AirBNB. Booming construction, historic investments in public transit, and the intensifying pressures of gentrification promise to reshape our city in profound ways. Left unchecked, these forces could further exacerbate LA’s income inequality and racial-segregation. With rents projected to increase for years to come, we need to address this crisis now. 

Prop JJJ is one piece of the puzzle to building a more affordable L.A. for everyone. Clearly, we also need funding for affordable and supportive housing (called for by Prop HHH), strong preservation policies, and tenant protection ordinances. We are at a critical moment in our history; we need every possible tool that will help us move Los Angeles towards a City that works for all of us.

For more detailed information on Prop JJJ, CLICK HERE.