The High Cost of Homeless Housing: Mapping the Location and Calculating the Price of Proposition HHH Projects in Los Angeles

Proposed HHH Housing
Proposed HHH Housing

The Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin’s Office has issued a report on the cost, timing, and location of proposed housing for the city’s homeless. The report is reproduced below for broader public viewing.

Los Angeles voters approved Proposition HHH in November 2016 by an overwhelming margin, authorizing City officials to issue up to $1.2 billion in general obligation bonds to partially subsidize the construction of up to 10,000 units of supportive housing to reduce homelessness in Los Angeles.

The ballot language requires the Controller’s office to audit the financial aspects of the program. Controller Galperin set out to do this and also look at the City’s performance on HHH to date. He found that high construction costs and a lengthy approval process have prevented the program from living up to its promise and intentions. While homelessness has increased by 40 percent to 36,000 people in recent years, the City is set to fund 5,873 supportive units and an additional 1,767 affordable units with HHH dollars — at a median cost of $531,373 per unit. Only 19 projects are in construction and, as of October 8, 2019, zero HHH-funded units are open.

Controller Galperin presents this map to supplement his review of Prop. HHH. Scroll below to view details about all 114 projects that are under construction, in pre-development and under review. Each pin represents a separate project and includes the developer’s name, project costs, HHH contribution and more.

HHH projects under construction

Three years after voters approved Prop. HHH, only 19 projects are under construction. When completed, they will provide 892 supportive housing units and 368 affordable units. More than 90 percent of the units under construction are small studios and one-bedroom apartments ranging from 275 to 750 square feet.

Per-unit costs in this category:

  • Lowest: $346,678 per unit
  • Highest: $690,692 per unit (Vermont Corridor Apartments at 433 S. Vermont Ave.)
  • Average: $521,861 per unit

Cost breakdown for projects under construction:

  • 11 percent land costs
  • 49 percent construction costs
  • 40 percent soft costs (fees, consultants and financing costs)

The overall cost of these 19 projects increased by 12 percent between the time of the first HHH cost estimates and August 2019. Five projects have seen costs jump by 25 percent during that time period.

HHH projects in pre-development

Most HHH projects are currently in the pre-development phase. Pre-development is a broad term that includes projects that have been approved and the developers are in the process of applying for funding, securing land use approvals, engaging the community and obtaining permits.

When completed, these 60 projects will provide 3,240 supportive housing units and 910 affordable units. Around 80 percent of these units are studio or one-bedroom apartments.

PATH Metro Villas Phase 2 – PATH Ventures

Per-unit costs in this category:

  • Lowest: $228,908 per unit
  • Highest: $701,072 per unit (Mariposa Lily at 1055 S. Mariposa Ave.)
  • Average: $506,875 per unit

There are 15 housing developments in this group exceeding $600,000 per unit.

Cost breakdown for projects in pre-development:

  • 11 percent land costs
  • 54 percent construction costs
  • 35 percent soft costs (fees, consultants and financing costs)

Click the legend on the bottom left corner of the map to view the cost categories.

Montecito II Senior Housing – Thomas Safran & Associates Development, Inc.

HHH projects under review

As of October 8, 2019, a number of projects have been approved by the City Council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee, but not the Council as a whole.

The City is now considering making conditional funding commitments to another 35 housing developments. If ultimately approved, these projects would provide an additional 1,741 supportive units and 489 affordable units.

Per-unit costs in this category:

  • Lowest: $333,071 per unit
  • Highest: $686,443 per unit (Chavez & Fickett at 338 N. Mathews St.)
  • Average: $499,749 per unit

There are four housing developments in this group that exceed $600,000 per unit.

Click the legend on the bottom left corner of the map to view the cost categories.

SOLA at 87th – Innovative Housing Opportunities

All HHH projects

This map shows all 114 HHH-funded projects across the City of Los Angeles. Explore to find the nearest project to you.

Additional projects are slated to be part of the Prop. HHH Challenge, which could result in an additional 975 supportive housing units in the coming years. While many of these innovative housing ideas are promising, because the success of these projects is not yet certain, they are not listed on this map.

Click the legend on the bottom left corner of the map to view the cost categories.

Additional Resources

The High Cost of Homeless Housing: Review of Proposition HHH

Proposition HHH Infographic

HHH dataset on open data