Implementing an innovative solution to homelessness

Name: Becky Gross

Title: Program Manager

City: Los Angeles

Becky Gross joined the innovation team in Los Angeles three months ago to manage a small but creative piece of the city’s response to its homelessness crisis. The program, which was one of the winning ideas in last year’s Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge, is aimed at incentivizing homeowners to build tiny backyard houses and rent them to people who might otherwise become homeless.

It’s a familiar line of work for Gross, whose previous job was with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. But there’s one key difference in her new job: She’s now finding ways for homeowners to be part of the solution.

One of the ways she’s doing so is by catalyzing collaboration between city departments–like Building and Safety, Planning, Housing and Community Investment–to map out and streamline the steps homeowners will have to take to build backyard units. She’s also hosted focus groups to test what incentives–such as low-interest loans to construct new units and grants for renting existing units to housing insecure residents–homeowners find attractive.

“We’ve been in conversation with architects and homeowners alike to understand where the pain points are in this process,” she said. “It’s so important that we keep the end user in mind throughout the whole project.”

“Collaborate between different departments and break down silos to make sure you develop a well thought out and comprehensive solution.”

Celebrating public sector progress and innovation in cities around the world. Run by @BloombergDotOrg’s Government Innovation program. bloombergcities.org

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