Modular housing could help tackle LA’s affordable housing crisis

CARSON, Calif. — When it comes to building affordable housing, Rich Rozycki, CEO of CRATE Modular, says efficiency is a must. “What we’re doing is applying an assembly line automotive-type techniques to the construction of buildings. By doing that, you can eliminate a lot of the waste that goes into construction,” he said. “Whether it’s material waste, whether it’s labor waste.”

Rozycki says his company’s focus on modular housing, where each section is built and assembled in its Carson factory can help make a dent in Southern California’s affordable housing crisis. The company started off repurposing shipping containers but now design their own modules with steel. “We’re using a combination of structural and light gauge and that allows us to build bigger modules and that allows us to also stack larger projects and taller projects than what we can do with containers,” he said. “Rather than being limited to four stories or so, we can build six, seven, 15 stories.”

Rozycki says modular housing can be built six to 18 months faster than using traditional construction methods. CRATE Modular’s latest project will open this year, a 47-unit supportive housing development called McDaniel House in Koreatown, funded in part by Proposition HHH, a $1.2 billion bond measure focused on creating 10,000 units of affordable housing within ten years – a goal falling short affording to an LA City audit last year.

Tim Kawahara, executive director of UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate, says there are several factors that stand in the way of easing LA’s affordable housing crisis, including restrictive land use policies. “75% of residential-zoned land in Los Angeles is for single-family homes so that’s excluding multi-family, which is what you really need to do if we’re going to create housing stock at scale,” he said. “And then there is a very long approval process. So for developers, it can take four or five or more years to get your approval before you break ground.”

Kawahara says the high cost of land and community opposition in some areas also hamper efforts to build more units. He says modular housing is one promising method. “Time of construction on-site is going to be dramatically less because most of the stuff is going to be built in a factory and therefore produces less pollution, less CO2 on site,” he said.

Rozycki says it takes about a week to build a module and the goal this year is to build several modules a day. “If we’re ever going to get ourselves out of the affordable housing crisis, we are not going to do it over a 20, 30, 40-year period. Yeah, maybe we will, but that is not going to solve anything. It’s going to be a very slow and painful,” he said. “If we really want to put a dent in it and really attack the problem, we need to provide some scale and that’s what modular has the opportunity to provide.”

CRATE Modular Partners with Education Facilities Group (EFG) to Construct New Modular Education Building in Los Angeles

Developed by an experienced education facilities firm, the girls’ charter school will provide a beautiful education space for young female athletes using modern modular building methods

CARSON, Calif. – (June 13, 2022)CRATE Modular, a leading manufacturer of steel modular buildings, today announced they are collaborating with Education Facilities Group (EFG) to manufacture the modules that will comprise a 23,000 square-foot facility for the Girls Athletic Leadership School (GALS LA) in Los Angeles. The new GALS LA two-story educational building will feature (17) state of the art modern classrooms constructed from repurposed shipping containers that featuring open space with abundant natural light and full-height glazing.  

GALS LA is an all-girls charter school that takes a holistic approach to development, recognizing a connection between a healthy mind and body. The school integrates health and wellness by providing a curriculum addressing physical, emotional and psychosocial needs of female students.

CRATE manufactures multifamily and public works projects, and has a long history of building schools locally in LA. Their innovative modular construction process and streamlined approach allows for expedited schedules.  For education facilities like GALS LA, this means that buildings can be deployed rapidly, and schools open sooner. 

“We are always enthusiastic to take on education projects,” said CRATE Modular CEO Rich Rozycki. “Right now, there is a great need for more space and classrooms in the education system. The challenge is building while keeping school schedules intact, but with a modular approach, fabrication is swift.”

Partnering on the project is EFG, a local school developer. They lead teams through EFG has extensive experience building schools in California, including the Renaissance Arts Academy in northeast Los Angeles, Magnolia Science Academy in Santa Ana and ​​Equitas Academy Charter School in Los Angeles. The GALS LA facility will be the first EFG education project that is modularly constructed, serving as a milestone for the organization.

“GALS LA will better exemplify how education facilities can be delivered both cost-efficiently and quickly, while also maintaining a beautiful and high-quality infrastructure” Rozycki said. We are excited to add GALS LA to our fast-growing portfolio of meaningful projects. Projects like these are incredibly rewarding – good schools contribute to thriving communities. We are always happy to be part of community building.”


About CRATE Modular

CRATE Modular is an industry leader in steel modular construction for the multifamily, educational, residential, and commercial construction sectors. We have years of experience with project types of all sizes and complexities. CRATE’s approach eliminates workflow inefficiencies, shortens the development cycle compared to conventional site-built construction, reduces waste, and produces stronger and more durable buildings. CRATE Modular buildings are manufactured in Los Angeles and are delivered ready-to-install. For more information, please visit

CRATE Modular’s CEO, Rich Rozycki was a guest on the Dave Cooper show to talk about modular construction and shared advice about those entering the offsite construction markets. Rich also discussed CRATE’s newest product line, a hybrid system of structural and cold formed steel that will be used in a four-story apartment, 48 unit permanent supportive housing complex going into Koreatown in Los Angeles, CA.

Click on the link to view the Asking the Right Questions Before You Start Manufacturing Offsite Solutions episode.

CRATE Modular, one of the nation’s leading manufacturer of steel-based modular buildings utilizing repurposed shipping containters, announced today that it has been selected by Daylight Community Development and the Decro Group to fabricate 47 units of permanent supportive housing for individuals in Los Angeles experiencing homelessness. This project will also be the first to utilize CRATE’s newest product – modules made from cold-formed steel. When complete, the new four-story housing development will be located in the heart of Koreatown at 1043 South Harvard Blvd.

Daylight Community Development is an affordable real estate development company hyper-focused on developing housing for Los Angeles’s homeless population. By taking advantage of recent zoning and regulation changes, newly available public funding sources and modular construction partners like CRATE, Daylight is able to build affordable housing in a more cost-effective manner.

The Decro Group is a nonprofit affordable housing developer with more than a 30 year history of building and managing affordable housing in Southern Californa and Florida. Decro pursues business and capital to revitalize disadvantaged neighborhoods, stimulate economic opportunity, and promote job growth. Decro specializes in affordable housing, mixed-use developments, and service-enriched communities for low and very-low-income, at-risk, and special needs individuals, families, and seniors.

Greg Comanor, partner at Daylight Community Development, explains “Our partnership with CRATE Modular and their mission to better serve the most vulnerable populations and create a deeper impact within our local communities presented a great opportunity for us to further foster Daylight’s own mission to end chronic homelessness in Los Angeles.”

CRATE will begin fabrication in February and delivery is set for Spring 2022.

The launch of its new cold formed steel methodology enables CRATE to expand its capabilities to provide more solutions, with increased flexibility on dimensions and additional design options for its clients. Along with Daylight and Decro, CRATE is also partnering with leading general contractor Howard CDM, and Studio One Eleven, who is providing architectural design.

“This is a groundbreaking project for CRATE because of our expansion into cold formed steel modules,” said Amanda Gattenby, vice president of development at CRATE. “While we’ve already been using steel in the fabrication of our recycled shipping containers, adding this new product to our lineup will enable us to offer even more customization and flexibility in how we can manufacture modular solutions for our clients, like Daylight and Decro.”