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Second Dwelling Unit (Accessory Dwelling Unit) Pilot Program

An innovative new Los Angeles County pilot project is underway. As part of the County’s Homeless Initiative, the Second Dwelling Unit (Accessory Dwelling Unit) Pilot Program is exploring ways to make it possible for homeowners to construct housing for homeless families and individuals. An architectural competition is being planned. And we’re on a fast track: The goal is to identify the winning projects and finish construction within 18 months.

The pilot program is only available for properties in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County (properties that are not located within any city). Additional details of the program, approved on Aug. 15, 2017, by the Board of Supervisors, can be found here.


What is an accessory dwelling unit (ADU)?

An accessory dwelling unit (also known as a second dwelling unit, granny flat, etc.) is an additional house that can be built and rented on a single-family property.

What is the pilot program?

The pilot program encourages the development of accessory dwelling units in the following ways: by streamlining the permit approvals process, providing technical assistance to homeowners, providing some financing options, and promoting accessory dwelling units through an architectural design competition.

What is the duration of the pilot program?

The program will be developed and implemented within the next 18 months. Why has the County chosen accessory dwelling units as a homeless strategy?

Accessory dwelling units are an important source of affordable rental housing stock in the County unincorporated areas. The County’s single-family zoned areas provide a significant opportunity to build new, and preserve existing, affordable housing. Encouraging accessory dwelling units in general is a homeless prevention strategy. In addition, the pilot program will focus on housing homeless individuals/families directly in accessory dwelling units.

How many homeowners can participate in the pilot program?

The County will provide a maximum subsidy of $75,000 per unit to build 2-3 new ADUs. The County will provide a maximum subsidy of $50,000 per unit to preserve 2-3 existing unpermitted ADUs. The subsidy will be provided in the form of a soft loan or forgivable loan tied to a commitment to rent the ADU to a homeless family/individual or participant in the housing choice voucher program.

What is the purpose of the design competition?

The design competition will help raise awareness of the importance of accessory dwelling units as an affordable housing strategy, explore the role of design in creating cost savings, and help get community buy-in around accessory dwelling units.

What is the potential to permit new and existing accessory dwelling units?

There are tens of thousands of potential sites in the unincorporated areas.


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