The city of Lakewood, California, is a planned, suburban community located just north of the city of Long Beach and about 25 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. Lakewood provided affordable post-war housing to many young families.
The population potential of this city of 74,000 will be greatly influenced by a shortage of vacant land (0.5 percent of its total area or 27 acres). Another factor influencing Lakewood's growth will be the aging of its population, whose current median age is 34.
As of February 1995, Lakewood's unemployment rate was 4.7 percent, approximately 1.2 percent lower than the national average. Slightly more than a quarter of the city's employed population is in the manufacturing industry. The area's largest local employer is McDonnell Douglas Corp.
Using the requested $788,000 in Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program funds, the city of Lakewood will finance nine projects during the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1995, and ending June 30, 1996. Other non-Federal and private resources are also anticipated.
On January 25, 1995, the city developed a questionnaire to solicit the input of local agencies and institutions. The agencies surveyed own and manage housing for low-income families and the elderly, build housing for low-income families and the elderly, or provide services to populations with special needs.
A public hearing on the Consolidated Plan was held on February 2, 1995, to obtain the views of community members. The hearing was advertised in the Press Telegram and notices were sent to agencies and organizations. On April 17, 1995, notice of the availability of the Consolidated Plan was published in the Press-Telegram, announcing the 30-day public comment period. Notices were also sent to agencies.
A second public hearing was held before the Lakewood Planning and
Environment Commission on May 4, 1995. This hearing was advertised as before and
notices were posted within the city. The last advertised public hearing--on the
adoption of the Consolidated Plan--was held before the Lakewood City Council on
Tuesday, May 23, 1995. No comments were received.
According to the 1990 census, minorities represent 28 percent of the total city population of 73,557. Lakewood's ethnic breakdown at that time was 72 percent white, 15 percent Hispanic, 9 percent Asian American or Pacific Islander, 4 percent African American, and less than 1 percent Native American, Eskimo, Aleut, and other.
Lakewood's median income has been consistently above the Los Angeles County median. In 1990 the city's median family income (MFI) was $44,700, approximately 22 percent greater than the county median, and MFI for the Los Angeles-Long Beach area was $39,034. The percentage of households in the city with incomes less than 80 percent of the median increased from 20 percent in 1960, to 28 percent in 1990. Five percent of all persons in Lakewood live below the poverty level. Of the 26,202 households in the city, 3,884 or 15 percent are extremely low and very low income (with incomes 0-30 percent and 31-50 percent of MFI, respectively), and 3,561 or 14 percent are low income (51-80 percent of MFI).
Of the total 7,445 extremely low- to moderate-income households, 16 percent
are headed by minorities. Of those households, 42 percent are Hispanic; 32
percent are Asian American or Pacific Islander; 8 percent are African American;
1 percent are Native American, Eskimo, or Aleut; and 17 percent are classified
Cost burden (or severe cost burden) is the most serious housing problem experienced by Lakewood residents with incomes less than 80 percent of area MFI. Extremely low- and low- income households are especially hard hit.
Eleven percent of the city's 6,960 renter households are extremely low-income. The maximum rental amount that these households could afford without being cost burdened is $293. The median rent in Lakewood is $802 and, as a result, three-quarters of the city's extremely low-income households are cost burdened. Nearly 10 percent of all local renters are low-income households, and nearly 89 percent of them are cost burdened.
Thirteen percent of all renter households in Lakewood are defined as elderly households. Thirty-one percent of these households are extremely low income, and one-quarter are low income. Of the extremely low-income elderly, three-quarters are cost burdened, while over 91 percent of the low-income elderly are cost burdened.
Overall, cost burden in the city is much more common among renter households than it is among owner households with incomes below 95 percent of MFI. Of the 19,242 owner- occupied households in Lakewood, 1,162 are extremely low-income. Half of those households are cost-burdened. Of all owner-occupied households, 6 percent (or 1,250) are low income and 12 percent (or 2,332) are moderate income. One-quarter of each of these income groups is cost-burdened. The elderly suffer from the least housing problems among owner-occupied households.
Overcrowding is also a more serious housing problem for Lakewood's renting households than it is for owner households. Approximately 14 percent of the city's renting households are overcrowded, while 4 percent of its owner-occupied units are overcrowded.
There are 26,795 housing units in Lakewood. The city's overall vacancy rate of 3 percent is attributable to national, State, and local economic conditions. This rate is still lower than the national average of 6 percent.
Most of Lakewood's housing stock is in good condition. The majority of housing units in the city were built between 1950 and 1959. Nearly 800 of these units were found to be substandard, 719 are suitable for rehabilitation, and 76 need to be replaced. During the next decade, there will be an increased need for structural improvements as the city's housing inventory reaches 30 years of age and older.
Until the current recession, the price of housing in Lakewood had been rising at a greater rate than family income for several years. In general, this growth has decreased opportunities for home ownership for a growing percentage of the public. According to the 1990 census, the median-priced home in Lakewood was $215,600 and $226,400 countywide.
In the past 10 years, the Nation's homeless population has skyrocketed. Shelter Partnership's 1992-1993 study reported a 9 percent annual increase in the homeless population of Los Angeles.
Estimating the number of homeless persons in Lakewood is difficult. None of the shelters serving the area keep statistical data on Lakewood. The 1990 Census Bureau 1-night count of homeless people in the city recorded no unsheltered people and 10 people in Su Casa, Lakewood's transitional housing for battered women and their children. The number is low because the city of Long Beach, which borders Lakewood to the west and south, provides many regional services to residents in the Lakewood area through various county and private programs.
Currently, Lakewood does not provide supportive services to the homeless through formal programs. On an informal basis, the city provides support services to homeless individuals and families through the Burns Community Center when specific needs arise. Burns Community Center is also the city's information headquarters regarding activation of the county's inclement weather program.
The city is unable to determine how many homeless persons within Lakewood are severely mentally ill, severely mentally ill with alcohol or other drug addiction, or diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The Southern California Alcohol and Drug Programs, Inc., currently serves 205 Lakewood residents, 38 of whom are considered homeless. The Aviva Center for Homeless Youth reported serving two homeless youth from Lakewood. The United Way of Greater Los Angeles estimates there are 63 people in Lakewood with AIDS, but is unable to determine whether any of them are homeless.
There is very little documentation of the actual number of households in Lakewood who are at risk of becoming homeless. The Lakewood Housing Authority speculates that there has been a rise in applications for rental assistance, indicating that more families fear loss of housing or are living in doubled-up conditions.
There are no public housing communities in Lakewood. The Lakewood Housing Authority provides local residents with rental assistance through the Federal Section 8 certificate and voucher programs. To date, the Authority has received an allocation of 131 units. Of these, 25 percent are reserved for elderly or handicapped households, 60 percent are reserved for small families, and 15 percent are reserved for large families.
Currently, 3,330 families in Lakewood are registered for assistance, and 125 of those families have applications on file. Applications are provided to applicants once their names reach the waiting list. The waiting period can be 2 years or more. The Lakewood Housing Authority's Section 8 waiting list contains 428 elderly households, of which 38 have applications on file for rental assistance.
Centralia Apartments is the only housing complex in Lakewood that is privately owned and federally financed through Section 236 (J) (1). It must maintain affordable rents for 64 family units.
Federal housing assistance is also provided through an 80-unit, Section 8 housing communities for the elderly, Candlewood Park Apartments. It has a waiting list of 60 people. The Seasons Senior Apartments offers 201 units, of which at least 20 percent are rented to low- and very low-income elderly households. Currently, all units are rented and the complex has a waiting list of 100 people.
The development of affordable housing is affected by both the economic market conditions and government housing policies. Barriers to affordable housing include:
Because most affordable housing projects require some type of subsidy, lack of available funding sources is probably the biggest barrier in the Nation to affordable housing. The ongoing recession in California has decreased production of affordable housing at the same time that many government funding sources for affordable housing have been dramatically reduced. The recession has had a positive impact, however, by reducing land and construction costs. The credit crisis within the banking industry's real estate lending sections has had a negative effect on production.
Generally, the city has found that its land use controls pose no unwarranted governmental constraints. Lakewood has traditionally maintained fees for planning services well below actual cost to the city and far below those of surrounding cities.
Government constraints affect the city's ability to develop, maintain, and improve housing. They include the Tax Reform Act of 1986, environmental review requirements, permits requirements, historical renovation requirements for buildings on the National or State Historic Register, Davis-Bacon wage requirements, and lead-based paint requirements.
During the next 5 years, the city will continue to work cooperatively within existing legislatively mandated constraints and will continue to encourage and develop public policies that foster affordable housing development and assistance.
The city recognizes the effect that discrimination has in limiting housing choice and equal opportunity in renting, selling, and financing housing. In an effort to eliminate discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, or age, Lakewood is under a year-to-year contract with the Fair Housing Council of San Bernardino County. The Council has agreed to prepare and administer a fair housing counseling program in Lakewood for Fiscal Year 1995-96.
Because lead-based paint is typically used in more harsh climates as a protectant, housing in Southern California is less likely to have lead paint due to the region's mild climate. Further, not all units with lead-based paint have lead-based paint hazards. Of all homes in Lakewood occupied by extremely low- and low-income families, 2,156 are estimated to have lead- based paint: 1,934 renter units and 222 owner-occupied units. Twenty-three of these units may be of greater risk because they were constructed prior to 1940.
The number of persons with disabilities in Lakewood has been hard to identify. An estimated 249 developmentally disabled persons and 217 physically disabled persons live in Lakewood. HUD estimated in 1988 that 228 handicapped persons in Lakewood needed rental assistance.
Because many of Lakewood's plans for meeting housing needs involve existing programs, more than half of the city's allocated CDBG funds will be spent on community development needs. Those with the highest priority include:
The city's objectives for affordable housing for the next 5 years are to work through existing programs to address the needs (cost burden, overcrowding, and substandard housing for renter households and substandard housing for owner households) of households with incomes less than 80 percent of the area's MFI.
To ensure that affordable housing is available for special needs, homeless, and low- and moderate-income persons, Lakewood will use its CDBG resources to undertake rehabilitation and public service activities. The city will use Federal, public, and private resources to leverage the resources needed to develop affordable housing units. Resources will be used for the following housing priorities:
Almost all of the city's public and private agencies and affected citizens report a critical need for new or upgraded public facilities to keep pace with population increases and to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income, special needs, and homeless persons.
Similarly, virtually all public and private agencies in the Lakewood area report insufficient resources for the number of people requiring services. California's poor economy has stretched resources. Only fair housing and tenant/landlord counseling activities, funded by CDBG, appear to have sufficient funds.
Infrastructure improvements also receive a high priority. Like many cities in California, Lakewood has recently had to moderate or curtail investment in capital improvement projects because of declining public revenues. The high cost of making these improvements for low- and moderate-income areas will often require additional funding found in CDBG resources.
Lakewood has also placed a high priority on code enforcement and energy efficiency improvements. Especially in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, these initiatives are largely funded by city and public-sector funds. CDBG will be a resource to leverage funds for these services.
Beyond the housing and community development objectives mentioned elsewhere, Lakewood Housing Authority is developing a family self-sufficiency program for families on the Section 8 program. The program will help Section 8 recipients develop job skills, further their education, earn high school diplomas, and improve their literacy.
Under the supervision of the Director of Community Development, the Housing
Specialist oversees all federally funded programs in the city. The Assistant
Director of Community Development and the Community Development Department
housing staff will help to implement and monitor these programs. Other agencies
participating in the implementation, oversight, and monitoring process include
the Redevelopment Agency, the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles,
and the Lakewood Housing Authority.
Key projects to be undertaken with CDBG funds during the year include:
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.
MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 6 is a map, sectioned by neighborhood, which depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 7 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within one of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.
MAP 8 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage.