Skip to content
CityLab
Design

A One-Stop Shop for Affordable Backyard Homes Advances in L.A.

A new program in Los Angeles seeks to finance and build accessory dwellings for homeowners who agree to rent them to Section 8 voucher-holders.
relates to A One-Stop Shop for Affordable Backyard Homes Advances in L.A.
LA-Más

Looking at the pressing shortages of low-income housing in each and every state in the country, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that NIMBY homeowners are winning the fight against new housing, and especially against affordable housing. But there’s one potential foe that reactionary homeowners are ill-equipped to dominate: their own neighbors. Other homeowners, that is, who have elected to house Section 8 voucher-holders in their backyards.

That’s the proposal by LA-Más, an urban-design nonprofit in Los Angeles, and other organizations involved in The Backyard Homes Project. Led by designer Elizabeth Timme and public-policy expert Helen Leung, LA-Más has previously worked on placemaking projects and convenience-store redesigns that highlight healthy food options. Now, Timme, Leung, and their partners hope to finance and build backyard homes, or accessory dwelling units (ADUs), for homeowners who agree to rent them initially to Section 8 voucher-holders for a minimum of five years.