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Bolstering a countywide movement to fight homelessness, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today approved an ordinance providing homeowners with new opportunities to build or convert existing spaces into Accessory Dwelling Units, also known as “backyard homes” or “granny flats.”

The ordinance gives homeowners more flexibility in creating ADUs. The goal: to help increase the region’s seriously depleted housing stock though the development of safe and livable low-cost housing options.

“This ordinance enables County property owners to be part of the solution in the fight against homelessness,” said Board Chair Sheila Kuehl. “Building ‘granny flats’ can help alleviate our affordable housing crisis, while providing additional rental income for the families who build them. I strongly encourage homeowners to consider whether this opportunity can work for them. When it comes to reducing homelessness, we need all hands on deck and everyone in.” 

Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said she, too, was eager to expand ADUs, which “exist in many of the neighborhoods in the unincorporated areas I represent.”

"With today's action, L.A. County has approved another tool in our arsenal to combat the housing crisis,” she said. “By assisting homeowners in legalizing their ADUs and encouraging others to build their own, L.A. County is identifying and implementing innovative measures to increase available housing and prevent homelessness before it occurs."

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who could not be present for Tuesday’s vote, earlier underscored the importance of ADUs in the fight against homelessness.

"Addressing a shortage of more than 500,000 affordable units across Los Angeles County will require the expedient deployment of different types of housing, and ADUs are a great way for single family properties to be part of the solution," he said.  "It puts rent income into property owners' pockets, without altering the character of their neighborhoods."

Supervisor Janice Hahn added: “We need to build more housing stock, period. If homeowners are willing and ready to build new units on their property, we should help them—not stand in their way.”

The Department of Regional Planning was a key player in the development of the ordinance, a reflection of the mobilization of multiple county departments to confront homelessness.

 “It is only through collaboration and creative solutions like this that we will be able to collectively make a dent in addressing affordability issues,” said Regional Planning Director Amy J. Bodek.

For more information on the ADU ordinance, please click here