The Backyard Homes Project


THE BACKYARD HOME PROJECT: An Affordable Housing Initiative

How can Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) support the creation of more affordable housing units in the city for Section 8 voucher holders?

In May 2017, LA-Más was awarded a HUD Section 4 Capacity Building Grant for Community Development and Affordable Housing from the Los Angeles Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LA LISC). This grant has supported LA-Más in laying the groundwork for The Backyard Home Project: An Affordable Housing Initiative - which aims to support the creation of more affordable housing units in the City of LA for Section 8 voucher holders.


Los Angeles’ current system for affordable housing doesn’t meet the growing demand. We need alternatives to housing affordability that are diverse, contextual, and efficient. It is reported by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) that 40% of Section 8 vouchers in the city are forfeited due to a lack of available housing options for voucher holders in the rental market.


We held a series of focus groups throughout LA in late 2017 and early 2018 as well as convened an advisory committee of housing, financing, and government experts to inform this program. We have held 5 focus groups with homeowners in Northeast LA, San Fernando Valley, and Southwest LA, and various housing professionals in partnership with the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing (SCANPH) - check out our presentation here. In total, we heard from over 100 homeowners and professionals.


Proposed Program Elements

If a homeowner agrees to construct an ADU and rent it out to a Section 8 voucher holder for a minimum of five years they may be able to access the following incentives:

  • Program oversight by the  Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles

  • Tenant support provided by low-income/homeless housing service providers

  • Potential permit fee deferrals from the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety

  • Access to a new low-barrier financial mortgage product

  • Discounted architectural and project management services


Our goal is to create a program that enables low-moderate income homeowners to  finance, design, and build affordable ADUs and in turn rent them affordably to Section 8 housing voucher holders.


STATUS: We hope to launch this program for 8-10 homeowners in 2018.


Check out our Developing Affordable ADUs Webinar here!

For more information, please contact Alejandro at