Micro-Units Considered as Affordable Housing Option

Long Beach, California is the latest city to consider small residential units, 350 square feet and smaller, as one way to combat the rising cost of housing.

1 minute read

September 1, 2020, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Los Angeles County

trekandshoot / Shutterstock

Planners in Long Beach are completing a pilot program that would "allow for the production of 500 micro-units in Downtown and Midtown" in Long Beach, California, reports Emma DiMaggio. 

Micro-units, defined in the article as residential units totaling 350 square feet or less, are expected to provide new options for housing affordability in the city. "Around 52% of all apartments in Long Beach cost more than $2,000 a month for an average space of 801 square feet," explains DiMaggio. "While micro-units aren’t necessarily affordable by definition, the program will help fulfill the city’s obligation to create affordable housing."

"While micro-units may not be 100% affordable, they will contribute to the city’s affordable housing stock. Since Downtown and Midtown will be subject to the city’s new inclusionary housing policy, at least 11% of rental units will be reserved for very low-income households," adds DiMaggio. 

Long Beach would follow a number of larger cities in allowing smaller residential units in recent years—San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, and New York City are listed in the article, but locally, Pasadena has also recently created a similar allowance for small residential units in local zoning codes.

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