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LA to pay homeowners to build second dwellings for homeless

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to give homeowners between $50,000 and $75,000 to build second dwellings on their property in an effort to house more homeless people.

The pilot program passed by a vote of 4-0 and will begin with an allocated amount of $550,000, reported the Los Angeles Daily News.

Officials said the program will roll out slowly as a way to test its feasibility.

In a letter recommending the program’s approval, Richard Bruckner, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning, said the initiative will begin to review and approve designs for the additional units, provide incentives for their construction and promote the program.

The county program comes after the state passed a law easing restrictions on building second units, informally referred to as “backhouses” or “granny flats,” in order to combat the rising homelessness rate in California.

According to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, California typically has approximately 118,000 people experiencing homelessness on an average night — the highest rate in the country and 30,000 more than in New York, in second place. In Los Angeles, the number of homeless on an average night is about 47,000.

“Homelessness in Los Angeles will not be solved overnight — it is a long-term crisis that calls for long-term solutions,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in January.

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