The candidates spoke to a standing-room-only crowd of 500 people at the forum.<@SM>Speaking at the Mayoral Candidates Forum on Affordable Housing (from left): Dr. Raphael Bostic, Jan Perry, Eric Garcetti and Wendy Gruel.

(Save the dates: RealShare Apartments East comes to the Hyatt Regency in Miami, FL, on February 26, and RealShare Los Angeles comes to the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles, CA, on March 27.)

LOS ANGELES-L.A.’s mayoral candidates are recognizing that affordable housing is a hot-button issue, and they demonstrated their commitment to improving this sector at the Mayoral Candidates Forum on Affordable Housing held Downtown recently. At the event—hosted by Housing For a Stronger Los Angeles, a broad-based coalition of housing-industry professionals—the three leading candidates in the L.A. mayoral race each vowed strong support for affordable housing and underscored the need to build more units for low-income and middle-income households in the city.

During the event, City Councilmembers Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry cited their role in helping build thousands of new units for low-income households, and City Controller Wendy Greuel called for more housing for middle-income families. Speaking to a standing-room-only crowd of 500 people, the three candidates engaged in a frank discussion on strategies to provide adequate housing for all residents of the city. The forum was moderated by economist Dr. Raphel Bostic, director of the Bedrosian Center on Governance and a professor at the Sol Price School of Public Policy, both at USC.

According to the coalition, housing has become an issue in this year’s mayoral campaign, in part due to the sharp decline in funding to build or renovate affordable units. Funding sources for affordable housing in the city have either been diminished or run dry in recent years, causing a $72-million drop in public funding between 2008 and 2013. Those losses include $50 million in annual affordable housing investment from redevelopment and $19 million in federal HOME funds provided by the US Department of Housing & Urban Development. Meanwhile, housing remains one of the most-expensive items in the daily life of Los Angeles residents, with affordable housing out of reach for many.

Garcetti, whose district includes Hollywood, said at the forum, “As mayor, I will build on my experience leading the nation’s largest affordable-housing trust fund and the nation’s first tenant foreclosure eviction moratorium and sold our immediate and long-term housing challenges.”

Greuel addressed the need for the construction of workforce housing, targeting people who earn the median income, but who are often unable to find housing they can afford in L.A.’s costly neighborhoods. “As mayor, I’ll fight to increase affordable housing in Los Angeles. This city should be a place where families, cops and teachers can all afford to live.”

Perry called herself “a staunch advocate,” citing the high level of housing development in her Downtown L.A. district. “By leveraging the success of Downtown revitalization, I was able to support the development of more than 4,000 units of affordable and supportive housing for working families, seniors and the homeless.”

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