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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Movement to Decommodify Housing: Property Sources for Non-Speculative Housing in Los Angeles County


The Los Angeles Housing Movement Lab is a coalition of housing justice organizations co-led by Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) to support the decommodification of 20% of housing units in Los Angeles County by 2050. The Movement Lab broadly defines decommodified as housing that no longer generates profit or acts as a vehicle for investment. This project analyzes the feasibility of four property sources for decommodified housing: congregation-owned land, publicly-owned land, naturally occurring affordable housing, and expiring affordability covenants. For each property source, I calculate a potential unit yield and then use a feasibility matrix to evaluate each property source by cost, scalability, community control, process barriers, and political will. From the unit analysis, I find that publicly-owned land and naturally occurring affordable housing have the largest yields and therefore the most potential to scale. From the feasibility matrix analysis, I find the property sources are generally favorable for cost and scalability but unfavorable for process barriers and political will due to the lack of infrastructure for alternative property ownership models. Finally, I make policy recommendations to remove barriers and scale up decommodification efforts for each property source.

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