Searching for solutions to SoCal’s housing crisis, YIMBYs say ‘yes’ to development


Brent Gaisford, 27, leads Abundant Housing LA, one of the area’s YIMBY organizations. Behind him is the M Lofts in Palms, the kind of development he said L.A. should be building more of. 


A backlash against high rents and home prices in Los Angeles has produced a movement that is so open to new development that many call themselves YIMBYs — as in “Yes in My Backyard.”

Their mantra is “build everything” — be it subsidized affordable units or pricey condos. Local YIMBY leader Brent Gaisford, 27, of the group Abundant Housing L.A. is on a mission to show how adding homes for people of all incomes is good for the entire market.

“It helps me, because those who can afford luxury units stop competing with me on apartments,” Gaisford said. “The housing market is like a game of musical chairs, but like a sinister one where if you have more money you can always take my chair.”

This pro-development stance clashes with other housing activists who want to focus on building below-market rate housing, and also with — not surprisingly — the “Not in My Backyard” contingent, a mix of homeowners fearing more crowding and traffic and tenants worried about gentrification.

The wide gulf between those who support for construction above all else and those that oppose development at every turn shows why solving the housing crisis is so intractable.

The state Legislature is taking up a package of bills that if approved would provide funding for affordable housing and streamlining the development process. But it’s not clear how far the legislation would go in solving a decades-long problem in a deep and significant way.

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