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Building Hope and Homes

The Back Home Initiative Redefining Housing Solutions

Would you like to receive up to $1,000 a month for up to 15 years, increase your property value and help solve homelessness? If you’re a Los Angeles County homeowner who seeks an additional source of passive income and is also concerned that not enough is being done to address homelessness, then read on….

The housing crisis in Los Angeles has reached a critical juncture, leaving many individuals and families without a place to call home. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as in-law suites or granny flats, have emerged as a potential solution to this pressing issue. These secondary residential units offer an opportunity to create additional affordable housing while empowering homeowners to play an active role in making a difference.

The Back Home Initiative (BHI) takes this concept to the next level, presenting an innovative, efficient, and scalable approach to tackle the rising problem of houselessness. In this blog post, we explore how ADUs and the BHI pilot can address the housing crisis, foster community engagement, and provide a path to a brighter future for all.

The Power of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

ADUs are secondary residential units that can be added to existing single-family and multi-family residential lots, as well as commercial and public properties. These independent rental units come equipped with their own entrances, kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and living rooms, and they can be either attached or detached from the primary residence or converted from garages. Traditionally, ADUs have been used as market-rate rentals, but they also hold tremendous potential for providing affordable housing options to those in need.

The City of Los Angeles has taken the lead in ADU construction, thanks to newly enacted laws that reduce setback requirements. Between 2017 and 2019, 46% of the 28,576 ADUs permitted in California were permitted by the City of Los Angeles. These ADUs can be built more quickly and affordably compared to permanent supportive housing, offering homeowners an opportunity to generate passive income while building equity and enabling them to stay in their homes.

Introducing the Back Home Initiative (BHI)

The Back Home Initiative (BHI) is a groundbreaking program designed to combat the escalating houselessness crisis. Its primary objective is to provide supportive housing for low-risk individuals and families who are at risk of becoming houseless, have recently experienced houselessness, or are ready to transition out of transitional housing. BHI aims to construct and maintain a minimum of 150 fully furnished, move-in ready ADUs, each measuring at least 255 square feet, with all essential amenities.

BHI provides a comprehensive package to participating homeowners, including free ADU construction and maintenance, support services for both tenants and homeowners, and a monthly stipend of up to $1,000 as an incentive for homeowner participation throughout the program’s duration (maximum 15 years). To ensure smooth implementation, homeowners submit their intent to participate, followed by a formal BHI contract, and the ownership of the ADUs is eventually transferred to them at no cost.

The Role of Supportive Services

BHI partners with local Coordinated Entry System (CES) homeless service providers to offer support services for both tenants and homeowners. This includes helping to qualify and appropriately house tenants. BHI allocates resources to hire case managers who work with about 30 tenants and landlords each, ensuring that the transition into stable housing is supported by various means. Homeowner education, coaching for healthy tenant relationships, and short-term interventions for tenants are examples of the valuable support services offered.

Building a Collaborative Approach

The success of the Back Home Initiative lies in its cross-sector partnerships, involving government, nonprofit, and for-profit businesses, as well as community members. Beyond its founding team, BHI actively includes voices often overlooked in discussions on houselessness. Organizations such as United Latinx Fund, Mid-Valley Collaborative on Homelessness, Casita Coalition, LA Alliance for Human Rights, LA Business Council, Latino Coalition of Los Angeles, and SPA 6 Homeless Coalition contribute unique facets to the pilot project, ensuring it reflects the diverse needs of the community.

Looking Ahead: The Next Steps

The BHI model has garnered significant support and attention from various political leaders. Motions have been authored to explore citywide programs that finance ADU construction for the unhoused, as well as to develop plan templates and strategies to advance ADUs as a solution to houselessness. Local municipalities are also exploring grant opportunities to fund the construction of ADUs under the BHI framework.

The Back Home Initiative (BHI) pilot offers a ray of hope in the midst of the housing crisis in Los Angeles. By harnessing the potential of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and engaging homeowners as active participants, BHI presents a scalable and cost-effective solution to houselessness. The program empowers communities, fosters collaboration, and paves the way for a more inclusive and compassionate society.

To learn more about the Back Home Initiative and join the growing community of supporters working towards viable solutions for houselessness, visit the BHI website and take a step towards building a brighter future for all residents of Los Angeles.


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