In response to Los Angeles’ severe housing crisis—one of the worst among major U.S. cities— and state pressure, Mayor Karen Bass introduced Executive Directive 7. This surprising executive action aims to cut bureaucratic obstacles and stimulate housing development across all income brackets.
Los Angeles struggles with high rents, overcrowded conditions, and increasing housing instability due to decades of restrained housing production. This shortage of affordable and accessible housing has highlighted the deepening disparities within communities and escalated the city’s homelessness crisis.
Los Angeles’ housing crisis is a result of low levels of housing production and restrictive land use regulations dating back to the 1980s. The city has reached less than half of its target for very low and low-income housing units, according to the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). Under the current 2021-2029 RHNA, the city is on track to meet only 40% of the targets for all income levels.
Addressing the Challenge
Executive Directive 7 calls for a collaborative approach to accelerate housing production. This includes making more housing project approvals ministerial, managing delays in the permitting process, and facilitating the reuse of existing vacant buildings. The goal is to reduce permit service timelines by 25 to 30 percent for eligible mixed-income housing projects.
Details of the Directive
The directive involves the cooperation of several city departments under the Mayor’s Office of Business and Economic Development and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Homelessness Solutions. Departments are expected to report back within 60 to 90 days with recommendations to facilitate developers navigating the city’s permitting process, reduce the need for discretionary review of housing projects, and propose ways the city can better encourage the development of for-sale housing and support homeownership opportunities.
The Executive Directive 7 Interdepartmental Working Group is tasked with reducing processing timelines for permit and clearance-related services by 25% to 30% for qualified mixed-income housing projects. General Managers are required to report quarterly on housing and affordable housing units entitled and permitted, including affordability levels.
To support this directive and improve the permitting process for all kinds of projects, applicable city departments are directed to identify and accelerate the ongoing development of technological initiatives, including but not limited to BuildLA and the LA Permitting System.
The directive is designed to increase the predictability and expedite the review of housing development, including mixed-income housing in the city. The plan also includes establishing an interdepartmental working group to focus on organizational and procedural improvements, pre-development review, and interdepartmental permit clearance coordination.
This directive represents a significant step in confronting the housing crisis that has been decades in the making, and it underscores the city’s commitment to increasing housing stability and affordability.