Monday, April 03, 2006

Los Angeles To Consider Housing Perks For Cops

Link To This Post.

The LA Times has a story today about a proposal to provide downpayment assistance to Los Angeles police and firefighters who can't afford to live in the LA area anymore.

This is one of the biggest problems hidden in the shadows of the housing bubble — the housing crisis for middle- and low-income workers. I've posted about the issue before as it's come up in livability studies and in the various suburban snubs that end up hurting the service workers. The situation wouldn't be as bad were it not for the arrogance of wealthy communities that have toiled to wall everyone else out, including their own civic employees.

The goal of the LAPD/LAFD proposal is a noble one, and the particulars of it still must be ironed out. But, if it maintains its LAPD/LAFD focus, it is hardly going to be a solution. The problem extends far beyond the ranks of police and firefighters. Public servants and service workers throughout the community are in the same situation, from dispatchers to teachers to city planners to all the others who work hard and can't afford housing.

The city council has yet to rule on the program, but if it's approved it would provide $50,000 to $90,000 low-interest loans to those who qualify, according to the LA Times.

Here's the best quote in the story, one that maybe the affluent suburbs will listen to:
"Housing prices are becoming a very significant factor in being able to attract people from other parts of the country," said Carol Schatz, president and chief executive of the Central City Assn. of Los Angeles, which represents downtown businesses and property owners.

"We hear from employers all the time that it's hard to recruit employees," she said.
And that's a situation that's not going to get better anytime soon, regardless of whether the bubble pops, or not.

— The Boy in the Big Housing Bubble