live / 2020

Urban $marts LA

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Renovation Planners

Urban $marts LA helps homeowners struggling to make ends meet and putting themselves at risk of losing their homes, prepare for building new affordable rental units in their backyards. Our trusted, experienced and caring team educates them as they navigate the entire process with confidence. The information is presented in a framework that leverages learning and transformation so homeowners take action, taking charge of their finances while providing safe and affordable housing.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • Reli Architecture

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

The following partner organization is collaborating on this project:

Reli Architecture - Architectural Design

Reli Architecture is a design studio specializing in projects located throughout Los Angeles County. Sustainable and meaningful design is Reli’s principle practice.

What is the need you’re responding to?

Nearly 80% of the homeowners we speak with that are interested in building a backyard home, want to do so to generate additional income that will help offset their high housing costs as well as provide funds for home maintenance and building wealth. So, a backyard home is a big deal to them, and every one of them wants the process of building it to be simple. Yet, they don’t know how to get their projects done right, on time, and on budget. That’s why we offer education that walks them through every step of the process, as well as feasibility studies so they can make informed decisions. We help homeowners get clear on what they want and map out a strategy to achieve their goals, so they can turn their dreams into reality.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

This work is important to us because every person has the right to a decent permanent home that is within their means. Also, backyard homes provide homeowners with the opportunity to do well (decrease their housing cost, invest in home maintenance, and increase their net worth) by doing good (increase the affordable housing stock and house a person without a permanent home).

We are uniquely suited to take this on because we have successfully implemented a framework that shows homeowners what type and size backyard home is best for them based on their unique circumstances, provides them with answers to questions they should be asking, as well as a roadmap that helps ensure they do the right steps in the right order. Also, as the Best-Selling Author of Remodel Success: Home Remodeling Done Right, On Time and On Budget, the founder of Renovation Planners brings an interesting perspective to educating homeowners, as well as a track record of helping them achieve project success.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Our program will educate 200 homeowners living paycheck to paycheck on how a backyard home can help them secure their financial futures. Our goal is to become their trusted partner and during the grant year usher 33 homeowners through the process of actually building and renting one as a strategy to not only address their affordability challenges, but those of their renters. This program will positively impact the financial stability of these homeowners, along with the housing stability of their prospective tenants. The framework that we’ve created to leverage learning and transformation so homeowners actually take action, and not just consume content, has the potential to become a national model for supporting housing affordability.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Success for our project will be defined by homeowners’ actions as a result of learning and transformation, as well as social engagement. It will be measured by the following metrics:

  • Number of homeowners educated about backyard homes
  • Number of homeowners provided with an individualized feasibility study
  • Number of homeowners provided with an individualized backyard home strategy
  • Number of backyard homes built
  • Number of backyard homes rented
  • Number of homeowners able to remain in their homes
  • Number of tenants housed
  • Duration of homeowner/tenant matches
  • Improved financial stability of homeowner
  • Improved housing stability of tenant
  • Homeowner and tenant satisfaction and achievement of personal goals
  • Project awareness illuminating our audience
  • Number of homeowners interacting with our content
  • Effectiveness of our marketing across platforms (social media, public relations, advertising, outreach, etc.)
  • What homeowners and tenants think and feel about our project

Which of the live metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Minority- and women-owned businesses
  • High-growth startups
  • Venture capital investment
  • Housing affordability
  • Homelessness

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to CREATE

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Office space for meetings, events, or for staff
  • Capacity, including staff
  • Strategy assistance and implementation
  • Host public webinars