UCLA Ziman Program – a First Nationwide – Teaches Zoning, Finance, Design and Permitting in Real Case Studies

Next Sessions Will Be Offered in Summer, 2019.  Applications for Admission Open in February.

UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate recently completed unique, specialized training in affordable-housing development for an at-capacity class. The Howard and Irene Levine Affordable Housing Development Program (LAHDP) teaches interdisciplinary expertise to a diverse, new generation. The inaugural sessions (in fall, 2018) received over 140 applications for just 24 spaces available to entry-level professionals. It was taught by UCLA faculty and high-level housing experts, and focused on the constraints – and hidden opportunities – in a real Los Angeles neighborhood. It is the first of its type among top U.S. universities.

LAHDP instructors included noted Los Angeles leaders in government, social enterprises and for-profit development, providing real solutions to the housing-affordability crisis. Given the overwhelming response to the first year and obvious need for this training, UCLA Ziman Center has increased the upcoming 2019 class size to 30 students and made it an annual program. The LAHDP 2019 call for applications will go out at the end of February, 2019.

LAHDP offers university-level instruction in entitlement, public-private funding, tax-credits, capital structures, design, and project management.

Participants in the recent Howard and Irene Levine Affordable Housing Development Program. Photo by UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate.

“We know of no other major research university that’s taken on this societal challenge in this way,” said Stuart Gabriel, Professor of Finance, Arden Realty Chair and director of the Richard S. Ziman Center for Real Estate. “We will grade ourselves on how successful we are in getting graduates of this training to develop affordable housing.”

According to Gabriel, “It’s time for industry as well as nonprofits to benefit from a broader knowledge of how to create affordable housing using a 100 percent vetted toolkit designed by UCLA faculty and industry experts.”

LAHDP also teaches young professionals to envision how traditionally separated agencies and sectors can collaborate.

“The private sector needs to know that money can be made in affordable housing,” said Ziman Center Executive Director Tim Kawahara. “If the only housing starts are luxury, there will never be enough affordable housing. This crisis cuts into the urban workforce if people can’t afford to live where they work, threatening our region’s economic viability.”

Impediments and Policy

LAHDP Do-Director Joan Ling, lecturer in urban planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, declared on the first day of training, “Affordable housing development isn’t rocket science. It needs two things, land and money. Since there isn’t enough land, it’s land-use policy that needs expanding.”

LAHDP instructors guided participants through tax codes and credits, entitlements and finance, among other industry tools. The program paired each team of six participants with a UCLA Master of Architecture-degreed consultant to develop a real housing tract in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles. The assignment was based on extant zoning and permitting parameters. Teams established a mission and targeted a specific tenant population, such as previously homeless military veterans or youth transitioning from foster care.

Participants included those from established organizations, such as L.A.’s Skid Row Housing Trust and Mercy Housing California. Others came from regional entities like the East L.A. Community Corporation, Coachella Valley Housing Coalition and Self-Help Enterprises in Visalia.

To develop the curriculum, Gabriel and Ling teamed with Professor of Architecture and Urban Design Dana Cuff, who is also director of cityLAB UCLA; and Ziman Center board member Lance Bocarsly, a lecturer at UCLA School of Law and founding partner at Bocarsly Emden Cowan Esmail & Arndt LLP.

Professional Trainees

Many LAHDP “students” are already industry professionals. Dawn Hicks, the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow at Venice Community Housing, said she is applying her training to develop 34 units of permanent-supportive housing. It’s a real-life example very similar to the case study she worked on with her Ziman team. “Renewal strategies of urban neighborhoods often create development plans that never seem to include those who already reside there,” she said.

Another participant was UCLA Anderson alumnus Jarred Herman is a construction manager for Los Angeles developer BW Brody Affiliated. “Housing costs affect everybody,” he said. “I want affordable housing to be a component of what I do. It makes sense to partner with a nonprofit to acquire funding and manage those projects on an ongoing basis.”

Ziman Center founding board member Howard Levine, whose commitment to housing and social responsibility dates back to his early business success, told participants on the first day of training, “We have a critical problem in L.A. Some 53,000 people in this region don’t have a place to sleep. This is a great opportunity for you to support a new agenda for affordable housing and the homeless.”

The Levine family established the Howard and Irene Levine Program in Housing and Social Responsibility to serve the community by promoting public dialogue and education around the escalating crises of homelessness and housing affordability. Kawahara, on behalf of the LAHDP team, said, “We are grateful to Howard, Irene and the entire Levine family for sharing in our vision. Their philanthropy enabled the Ziman Center to offer this critically needed program.”

About UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate 

UCLA Ziman Center is a multidisciplinary research center of UCLA Anderson School of Management and UCLA School of Law. We seek to advance thought leadership in the field of real estate by generating influential research, educating the next generation of leaders and providing meaningful forums for industry professionals and policy makers.

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