What if we could find a way to solve Los Angeles’ housing crisis that enhances our historic neighborhoods and helps meet our climate change goals by making our city more walkable? Well, a small group of local residents think they have the framework for such a solution.
The Livable Communities Initiative is the collaborative work of the H.O.D.G. Housing Huddle. H.O.D.G. is a local grassroots organization. (Hang Out Do Good), founded by Jennifer Levin in 2017. Levin is a pragmatist who wants to make the world a better place, starting with her own neighborhood. Over the years, she has organized hundreds of passionate neighbors to help make lunches for unhoused neighbors, collect clothing and food, and coordinate other efforts to support local charities. H.O.D.G. is also active in national and local politics, promoting candidates who support the environment, good government and livable communities.
Frustrated at the persistence of homelessness, Levin pulled together a group to look at housing and see how H.O.D.G. could engage in the issue. Ultimately, the group coalesced around the idea of the Livable Communities Initiative drafted by Lindsay Sturman, Larchmont Village resident and founder of Larchmont Charter Schools, and Tony Gittelson, television writer and Brookside resident. Essentially, they are proposing to place modest density along the city’s current commercial corridors. Imagine three or four stories of housing above commercial office or retail space on La Brea Ave., or Westwood Blvd., or Olympic Blvd.
For the past several months, Levin, Sturman and Gittelson have been sharing the Livable Communities Initiative with public policy leaders, neighbors, renters, homeowners, city council staffers and anyone else who is interested. They caught the attention of the city’s planning department in time to be included in the most recent version of the City’s Housing Element.
The idea of combining density with Complete Streets (safe, accessible streets that are planned for people as well as cars) isn’t new, but its timing could be right, especially if affordable housing is prioritized over market rate housing. And everyone wants to see a solution to the housing crisis, note Levin, Sturman and Gittelson. Their plan proposes that everyone, including developers and homeowners, also make some compromises to create that housing.
They are making one more presentation before the holidays – this Wednesday, December 15 from 8 – 9 p.m. on Zoom. Here’s the link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0oce6gqzsvGddt06RcC-DQuws1uCiulSUO
The presentation runs about an hour, including time for questions and answers. It’s an hour well spent.