Architectural & Design Studio

Family Evicted from East LA Home After Nearly 30 Years Addressing the Eviction Crisis and Promoting Affordable Housing Through ADUs:

In East Los Angeles, María Vela's family grapples with eviction amidst a broader crisis fueled by soaring rents. A potential remedy lies in Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), offering immediate relief and long-term stability. This narrative explores how ADUs can increase housing supply, provide affordability, and offer financial incentives for homeowners. Policy recommendations include streamlined approvals, financial perks, and partnerships with nonprofits. The synthesis of ADUs with broader solutions highlights a pathway towards a more equitable housing landscape in Los Angeles.

12/31/20232 min read


In the heart-wrenching story of María Vela and her family's eviction in East Los Angeles, the broader context of the city's eviction crisis is brought to the forefront. The skyrocketing rents, gentrification, and lack of affordable housing have led to a 75% increase in evictions since 2000, as reported by a study from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

As families like María Vela's face displacement from homes where they have built lives and communities, urgent and comprehensive measures are needed. The introduction of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) emerges as a promising solution to mitigate the housing shortage, offering both immediate relief and long-term benefits.

The Role of ADUs in Alleviating the Eviction Crisis:

  1. Increased Housing Supply: ADUs present an opportunity to significantly expand the housing supply in densely populated areas like East Los Angeles. By allowing homeowners to add secondary units on their properties, ADUs become a crucial tool in addressing the housing shortage.

  2. Affordability and Rental Opportunities: Homeowners, incentivized by the prospect of lower property taxes, may choose to offer ADUs at rents below the market rate. This not only provides affordable housing options but also contributes to stabilizing communities by retaining long-term residents.

  3. Financial Incentives for Homeowners: Recognizing the financial strain on homeowners, incentivizing ADU construction with lower property taxes can encourage broader participation. These incentives act as a catalyst for community-driven solutions to the housing crisis.

Policy Recommendations for Implementing ADUs and Supporting Homeowners:

  1. Streamlining Approval Processes: Simplifying and expediting the approval processes for ADU construction permits is essential. A user-friendly and efficient system encourages homeowners to participate in the initiative without facing unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles.

  2. Incentivizing Construction: Beyond property tax reductions, providing additional financial incentives such as grants or low-interest loans can facilitate the initial construction of ADUs. This makes the process more accessible for homeowners, especially those with limited resources.

  3. Public Awareness Campaigns: Launching public awareness campaigns about the benefits of ADUs, including potential financial incentives, is crucial. Educating homeowners about the positive impact on their communities and the flexibility ADUs offer can drive increased participation.

  4. Partnerships with Nonprofits: Collaborating with nonprofit organizations can provide crucial support to homeowners, particularly those from marginalized communities. Nonprofits can offer resources, guidance, and assistance in navigating the process of building ADUs.

Balancing the Equation: Compassion and Change:

Combining the implementation of ADUs with broader solutions to the eviction crisis underscores the need for systemic change. Advocacy efforts, strengthened rent control measures, and community-based support programs remain crucial in addressing the root causes of displacement.

The story of María Vela's family highlights the complexities involved—the emotional toll of eviction, the cultural significance of neighborhoods like East Los Angeles, and the need for swift, compassionate action. It is through a combination of ADUs and comprehensive measures that Los Angeles can hope to create a more just and equitable housing landscape, preserving the vibrant cultural fabric of its communities.




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