City of L.A. confirms Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, poorly written housing ban that will exacerbate L.A.'s housing crisis, will be Measure S on March 2017 ballot

Whatever you call it, historically diverse coalition of homeless advocates, business, labor, and community groups agree: it would be disastrous for L.A.

LOS ANGELES -- Today, as the Los Angeles City Council verified that the so-called Neighborhood Integrity Initiative will appear as Measure S on the March 2017 ballot, the diverse coalition of community organizations is growing daily and unified to stop it.

"Measure S must be stopped. It would block our progress on homelessness, at a time when 76% of L.A. voters just said yes to ending homelessness in November with the city's homeless housing bond," said Elise Buik, President & CEO of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. "We need all the tools in our toolbox to end homelessness and create affordable housing for working and middle-class people. Measure S takes away too many of those tools. It would make rents soar, eliminate thousands of jobs, and force thousands more Angelenos out of homes."

"Measure S would slam the brakes on the new housing our city desperately needs and drag our economy into the ground," said Gary Toebben, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. "It will destroy jobs and undermine our economic revival. We want to work together to build more housing the right way, and this unwise measure does the opposite. It goes too far."

The poorly written building moratorium is a mixture of half-truths, bad math, and outright deceptive statements that would make L.A.'s housing crisis -- already one of the least affordable cities in the nation—even worse. Here are two key reasons why:

They say "Our measure allows 95% of all development in L.A. to continue." Maybe... if you include permits for bathroom renovations in "development". Practically speaking, the NII is a housing ban. The numbers don't lie: in 2015, Los Angeles permitted 15,645 new units of housing. Of those, 9,099 required the kinds of zoning updates that the NII would ban. The NII would ban 58% of all new housing -- housing we badly need to lower rents and end homelessness.

They say "All 100% affordable housing projects are exempted from this time-out." Sure they are... unless you want to build them. The so-called "affordable housing exemption" doesn't include sites that require a General Plan Amendment. And as reported in the Los Angeles Times, 9 out of 10 city opportunity sites for affordable housing require General Plan Amendments. The NII would ban 90% of city opportunity sites -- the best locations for building the housing to end homelessness.

Leaders of L.A.'s most prominent organizations fighting homelessness have issued an open letter calling the NII reckless and disastrous. A recent poll found that as many as 62% of voters fear that it "will increase the rate of homelessness in Los Angeles and make it virtually impossible to address this problem."

"Los Angeles needs more housing, not less -- which makes Measure S a shockingly bad idea," said Ron Miller, Executive Secretary at Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building & Construction Trades Council. "Keeping L.A. affordable means keeping our commitment to increasing the supply of affordable housing for everyone, including teachers, nurses, police and firefighters and everyone who allows our City to survive as a safe place for all."

See the growing list of supporters working to stop Measure S at