LA City Council Looks to Buy 3D Printers to Build Homeless Residences - NBC Southern California
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Southern California's Homelessness Epidemic

LA City Council Looks to Buy 3D Printers to Build Homeless Residences

A 3D printer working at full capacity could build an 800-square-foot home in about 48 hours, the city council president said.

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    FILE - In this May 30, 2019 file photo, tents housing homeless line a street in downtown Los Angeles. A proposal to restrict where homeless people may camp around Los Angeles drew protest at a City Council meeting from demonstrators who fear the rules would criminalize homelessness. Council members began discussion Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, on proposed changes to the city's code that would prevent people from sleeping near sensitive areas such as schools, or blocking right-of-ways like driveways and loading docks. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

    The Los Angeles City Council agreed Friday to examine the purchase of 3D printers that can be used to produce materials to build homes for the homeless.

    The idea came from Council President Herb Wesson, who said in his motion that homes about 350 square feet in size were successfully built in Texas in about 48 hours, and the structures were equipped with a bathroom, kitchen and living space. A 3D printer working at full capacity could build an 800-square-foot home in the same amount of time, he said.

    "A crisis of this degree requires outside-the-box thinking and innovative new ideas," Wesson said in a statement. "We're leaving no stone unturned when it comes to finding ways to save costs and increase the speed of housing production and are looking into the potential of 3D-printed housing to do just that."

    Part of the motion approved by the council expresses support for changing state law to allow counties to seek voter approval of a tax on personal income above $1 million for homeless housing construction. Funding from such a levy cold be used to fund the printers.

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    Wesson said a 0.5% millionaires' income tax would generate an estimated $243 million per year in Los Angeles County.

    The motion also directs multiple departments to collaborate on setting safety standards and ensuring the homes would be up to code.

    City voters have previously approved a $1.2 billion bond measure aimed at building more than 10,000 permanent supportive housing units for the city's 36,000 homeless people. The county has about 59,000 homeless people, according to numbers provided in June by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

    In 2016, the county Board of Supervisors approved a resolution supporting putting a millionaire's tax on the ballot. A poll taken by the county at the time showed 76% of voters supported it.

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