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L.A. County’s Latest Solution to Homelessness Is a Test of Compassion

Residents can get up to $75,000 to build a “granny flat”—if they open it up to a homeless family.
A skateboarder rides past a homeless encampment alongside a street in Los Angeles.
A skateboarder rides past a homeless encampment alongside a street in Los Angeles.Richard Vogel/AP

California’s budding YIMBY movement is up for a real test. Under a new pilot program approved this week, Los Angeles County homeowners are being asked to literally open up their backyards to the homeless.

The county’s board of supervisors gave the green light to the The Granny Flats Motion project on Tuesday, which would give homeowners up to $75,000 to build a backyard home—if they agree to rent it to a homeless family or individual. (For those who already have a unit to offer, the county will to provide up to $50,000 in subsidies to convert it according to the county’s requirements.) On top of that, the county will also streamline the permitting process, an arguably attractive incentive considering that most of these “accessory dwelling units” in U.S. cities are illegal.