Housing and Land Use Justice

Social Housing

What is Social Housing?

Social Housing is the idea that creating housing should empower communities, not create obscene profits for corporate landlords. It works by providing city-owned land or leasing existing buildings to community-led organizations to develop and manage housing directly—all benefiting local renters and residents in need of stable homes.

Run by nonprofits and residents, Social Housing is designed so that the rents stay affordable forever while also providing tenants the training and authority to manage their own buildings. Additionally, Social Housing can provide tenants with a pathway to homeownership by making payments they can afford over a reasonable period of time. It’s an option to earn equity in property that many LA residents have never had due to disenfranchisement, discrimination, and redlining.

We’ve seen the consequences when real estate speculators have free reign to manipulate the housing market. Home prices soar, gentrification tears apart neighborhoods, and more and more people find themselves at risk of homelessness.

Creating more affordable housing has been an important start, but Social Housing is the next step—a way for all of us to own a collective stake in our neighborhoods and our future, and a system of residents working together instead of depending on corporate landlords whose only goal is maximizing profit.

When Measure ULA passed last year, our city unlocked hundreds of millions of dollars for Social Housing. We have vacant or underutilized city-owned land available, and countless examples of this working in cities around the world. Now is the time to seize the opportunity.

A colorful illustration of people of various shapes walking, bicycling, and enjoying an outdoor space next to housing that's shaded with trees and facing art murals.
Illustration by Jennifer Wilson and Graham Moitoso

ACT-LA’s vision for housing in Los Angeles:

Everyone in Los Angeles will have access to housing that fits their family’s size, needs, and budget in housing communities that are dignified spaces, in a safe and healthy environment, and with access to economic, social and cultural resources. Housing is planned thoughtfully in its quality, design, amenities and size to meet our housing needs. Residents have control and decision-making power over their housing, can exercise self-determination, and build community through collective ownership of their homes and land. Everyone will have equal access to live in whichever neighborhood they choose, families can choose to stay in their homes for as long as they want, and future generations will have the choice to continue living in the same neighborhoods their families live in.

Resources and Updates

Read more: Social Housing and Tenant Capacity Building, Explained

California State Work on Social Housing
The California State Assembly’s Select Committee on Social Housing’s Introduction to Social Housing Presentation (October 20, 2021).

Public Letters
ACT-LA Letter to LA Metro in support of land banking at Metro
— September 21, 2022

Related Partnerships

Illustration of a social housing protoptype building from an aerial view
“Hope on Union” Koreatown social housing prototype designed by Amera Youssef, Cameron Meier, Madha Nawal, and Nora Masler

Collaboration with Northeastern University
In collaboration with Professor Lily Song’s Anti Displacement Studio, undergraduate and graduate architecture students researched models of social housing across the world and built prototypes of social housing designs for Los Angeles. Click here to view the presentations and learn more.

Decommodifying Housing
ACT-LA is a member of the LA Housing Movement Lab, a convening of community and nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles county working to decommodify housing—no longer have housing as a commodity to be sold and used for profit on the private market—in Los Angeles. Click here to view the recording of “Social Housing 101”, a training facilitated by ACT-LA and the LA Housing Movement Lab.

Take Action

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