KEY TAKEAWAYS: Virtual Regional Housing Workgroup


We want to give a special thanks to our sponsor KP Public Affairs and our moderator and Zoom Conference host Steve PonTell – BFI Chair, National Community Renaissance for convening and stimulating conversation among a panel of experts around two key topics; Implementing SCAG’s ‘Connect SoCal’ and how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the future of building housing of all kinds and in all areas.

Our experts provided solutions that can be executed immediately to remove public policy inhibitors that prevent housing from being built; 1) providing reforms to California Environment Quality Act (CEQA) policy that will save projects time, 2) providing more resources to local governments, 3) building all types of housing (accessory dwelling units, affordable, market-rate, urban infill, transit-oriented communities) and 4) stress the importance of jobs to housing in strengthening our region’s economy.

We received great questions from the audience that ranged from “How can we expand this scope of housing for all income levels and inclusion of policies?” to  “How financiers can offer creative financing for builders and designers?”. We also sought to understand the fiscal impacts of COVID-19 to local cities who depend on their commercial sales tax revenue to provide the needed services to their residents.

  • Darin Chidsey, Southern California Association of Governments highlighted the importance of staying the course for the region and anticipates the Regional Council adopting the ‘Connect SoCal’ plan at the end of April as this will better position the region to obtain competitive State and Federal dollars needed to build and implement the infrastructure needed to move our economy. 


  • Kristine Guerrero, League of Cities LA Chapter articulated the need for cities to have more resources available to build more housing supply and informed the audience of SB 795 (Beall-Portantino) which would provide an Affordable Housing and Community Development fund to help local cities with these pressing housing needs.  


  • Robert Apodaca, The Two Hundred, shared why minority homeownership of all varieties (condo, townhome, granny flats, etc.) should be an important objective to sustain long term economic health and wealth to all communities and residents.
  • Jennifer Hernandez, Holland & Knight, provided some food for thought around the CEQA challenges implementing the ‘Connect SoCal’ plan due to the implied zoning changes and why that can ultimately prevent the execution of the plan and prevent much-needed housing from being built.
  • Greg McWilliams, FivePoint stressed the sense of urgency needed to recruit local city partners, the business community and builders to make housing a priority and he citied the recovery from the Northridge Earthquake as an example.
  • Rich Lambros, Southern California Leadership Council believed that the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is a great opportunity to execute an economic stimulus for local cities in the six-county SCAG region by supporting building more housing projects of all kinds.

To culminate our Virtual Housing Workshop Matt Horton, Milken Institute laid out the foundation for creating and executing a housing project pipeline that will ensure that we are on course to meeting our RHNA numbers and we are building a diversity of housing projects and housing types.

Stay tuned as this housing pipeline strategy is drafted and how it will create the needed financial tools for cities as we plan our next Regional Housing Workgroup Forum on Friday, June 19th


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