More broadly, the staffing shortages have put a new spotlight on a potential vaccine-or-testing mandate from the Biden administration, which major retailers have been resisting. The fear of losing workers appears to be looming large, especially now.

While the retail industry initially cited the holiday season rush for its resistance to such rules, it has more recently pointed to the burden of testing unvaccinated workers. After oral arguments in the case on Friday, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority expressed skepticism about whether the Biden administration had legal authority to mandate that large employers require workers to be vaccinated.

The National Retail Federation, a major industry lobbying group, said in a statement last week that it “continues to believe that OSHA exceeded its authority in promulgating its vaccine mandate.” The group estimated that the order would require 20 million tests a week nationally, based on external data on unvaccinated workers, and that “such testing capacity currently does not exist.”

When the top managers at Mr. Waugh’s Stop & Shop store began asking employees whether they were vaccinated in preparation for the federal vaccine mandates that could soon take effect, he said, a large number expressed concern to him about being asked to disclose that information.

“It was concerning to see that so many people were distressed,” he said, though all of the employees complied.

Ms. Luick of Macy’s near Seattle said that she worked with several vocal opponents of the Covid-19 vaccines and that she anticipated that at least some of her colleagues would resign if they were asked to provide vaccination status or proof of negative tests.

Still, Macy’s was among major employers that started asking employees for their vaccination status last week ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on Friday and said it might require proof of negative tests beginning on Feb. 16.

“Our primary focus at this stage is preparing our members for an eventual mandate to ensure they have the information and tools they need to manage their work force and meet the needs of their customers,” said Brian Dodge, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which includes companies like Macy’s, Target, Home Depot, Gap and Walmart.

As seasonal Covid-19 surges become the norm, unions and companies are looking for consistent policies. Jim Araby, director of strategic campaigns for the food and commercial workers union in Northern California, said the retail industry needed to put in place more sustainable supports for workers who got ill.

For example, he said, a trust fund jointly administered by the union and several employers could no longer offer Covid-related sick days for union members.

“We have to start treating this as endemic,” Mr. Araby said. “And figuring out what are the structural issues we have to put forward to deal with this.”

Kellen Browning contributed reporting.

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Institutional Property Advisors Closes $80 Million San Bernardino County Apartment Asset Sale

UPLAND, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Institutional Property Advisors (IPA), a division of Marcus & Millichap (NYSE: MMI), announced the sale of The Benson, a 236-unit multifamily property in Upland, California. The asset sold for $80.75 million, or $342,161 per unit.

“The Benson benefits from significant capital expenditures, most of which were spent on systems and common area improvements,” said Joseph Grabiec, IPA executive director. “New ownership has the opportunity to focus on revenue enhancing interior upgrades consistent with the competitive set, thereby immediately adding value.” Grabiec and IPA’s Alexander Garcia, Jr., Kevin Green, Greg Harris and Chris Zorbas represented the seller, an affiliate of Abacus Capital Group, and procured the buyer, New Standard Equities. “Rents in Upland have increased by 13% in the last 12 months and the competitive set’s asking rents are approximately 35% higher than the average in-place rents at The Benson,” added Garcia. “Average occupancy in Upland over the same time period has been 97%.”

Located 1.4 miles from the Los Angeles County border, the property is near Claremont Colleges, the Montclair TransCenter, and extensive retail. The San Bernardino Metrolink line at the Montclair TransCenter, three regional rapid bus service providers, and convenient access to a multitude of freeways offer connectivity to surrounding employment centers in the Inland Empire and the San Gabriel Valley.

“The Inland Empire continues to experience impressive growth and job creation, and this surge in economic activity has intensified the demand for housing,” said Green. “Single-family home prices have increased 13% over the last 12 months and are projected to grow 10% over the next 12 months, further exacerbating the affordability gap to home ownership and fueling strong rent growth.”

The Benson was built in 1973 on a 516,578-square-foot lot. The asset has 32 residential buildings, two resort-style pools with furnished sundecks, a spa, fitness center, dog park, playground, and over 350 onsite parking spots. The unit mix is composed of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Each unit has a private balcony or patio.

About Institutional Property Advisors (IPA)

Institutional Property Advisors (IPA) is a division of Marcus & Millichap (NYSE: MMI), a leading commercial real estate services firm in North America. IPA’s combination of real estate investment and capital markets expertise, industry-leading technology, and acclaimed research offer customized solutions for the acquisition, disposition and financing of institutional properties and portfolios. For more information, please visit www.institutionalpropertyadvisors.com.

About Marcus & Millichap (NYSE: MMI)

With over 2,000 investment sales and financing professionals located throughout the United States and Canada, Marcus & Millichap is a leading specialist in commercial real estate investment sales, financing, research, and advisory services. Founded in 1971, the firm closed 8,954 transactions in 2020 with a value of approximately $43 billion. Marcus & Millichap has perfected a powerful system for marketing properties that combines investment specialization, local market expertise, the industry’s most comprehensive research, state-of-the-art technology, and relationships with the largest pool of qualified investors. To learn more, please visit: www.MarcusMillichap.com.

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Corporate Board Diversity Increased in 2021. Some Ask What Took So Long.

People pushing for greater diversity on boards say companies need to expand their searches beyond current and former senior business executives, and emphasize skills over title.

“If you look around, everyone wants a sitting or recently retired C.E.O. who’s done very similar things to what their company’s trying to do sometime in the last decade,” said Jennifer Tejada, chief executive of PagerDuty, a software company, and a member of the boards of Estée Lauder and UiPath, a software company. “That’s a very narrow lens to look through.”

Under her leadership, PagerDuty’s eight-member board has just two white directors. She emphasized that she hadn’t had to settle for lesser candidates to have a diverse board. Her directors, she noted, include the dean of engineering at the University of Michigan, Alec D. Gallimore, who is Black; Bonita Stewart, who is a board partner at Gradient Ventures, an investment arm of Google, and the first Black woman to be a vice president at Google; and Rathi Murthy, who is Indian and a top technology executive at Expedia Group.

To ensure there are enough board candidates from a variety of backgrounds, companies need to do a better job promoting more people from underrepresented groups into senior roles, some executives said. That is especially true of increasing the number of Hispanic board members, said Elena Gomez, the chief financial officer of Toast, a software company, who is on PagerDuty’s board.

“What we need to do is get more Latinx people into those management roles, and that starts deeper in how you recruit and train,” Ms. Gomez said.

But the push to make boards more diverse has led to a backlash by some conservatives and libertarians. Some are suing to overturn the California laws, arguing that the state is illegally restricting the right of shareholders to select and vote on directors based on merit and skill.

“A coercive quota is being imposed on these companies,” said Daniel Ortner, a lawyer with the Pacific Legal Foundation. The foundation is representing the National Center for Public Policy Research, a group that says it promotes free-market policies, in a lawsuit challenging the law that requires directors from underrepresented groups.

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Waterford and CSCDA Expand into San Diego County with Acquisition of Three Escondido Multifamily Properties as part of Essential Housing Program, Lowering Rents for Qualified Residents

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Waterford Property Company (Waterford) in partnership with the California Statewide Community Development Authority (CSCDA), a joint powers authority, has announced the acquisition of three Escondido multifamily properties, including:

  • Alcove Apartments, a 112-unit community, built in 2019, located at 650 North Centre City Parkway
  • Haven76 Apartments, a 76-unit apartment community, built in 2016, located at 2414 South Escondido Boulevard
  • Rowan Apartments, a 126-unit apartment community, built in 2020, located at 700 West Grand Avenue

Waterford and CSCDA acquired the properties for $157 million from Lyon Living, the original owner and developer. Kyle Pinkalla of Northmarq represented the seller.

Upon taking ownership, Waterford, as project administrator for the property, and CSCDA will immediately lower rents for qualified new residents making between 80 to 120 percent of the area median income (AMI) under CSCDA’s workforce housing program. This program was created in response to a serious shortage of affordable workforce housing for those that have been termed the “missing middle,” individuals and families that earn too much to qualify for traditional affordable housing, but not enough to afford market rate rents in the communities where they work. As part of this program, annual rent increases are capped at no more than four percent and existing tenants that do not meet the income restrictions can remain in place until they elect to leave.

“When we look at the essential housing portfolio we’ve built this past year, we can see how powerful this program can be in bringing housing affordability to the missing middle demographic. With this program, Waterford is making a real difference in the lives of the state’s teachers, government employees, military, and first responders, among others, who can now stay housed in the communities where they work and serve,” said Sean Rawson, co-founder, Waterford Property Company. “The timing of this essential housing program is critical, as it provides immediate savings at a time when market rate rents across the state continue to rise.”

Average in-place rent across this Escondido portfolio per unit are currently $2,800. As part of this essential housing program, average per unit rent with the new rent restrictions in place will be $2,459. With this program, residents of these three Escondido communities will realize an average discount to current in-place rents of 12.2 percent and a discount to market rate rents of 13.8 percent.

Escondido Councilmember Consuelo Martinez commented that, “Middle income housing is something that doesn’t get built in our state and it’s highly needed.” She further shared, “What is important for me is ensuring that Escondido residents can stay living in Escondido and that rents don’t continue to skyrocket.”

The Escondido City Council unanimously approved the program during its October 28, 2021 City Council meeting.

“We’re seeing double digit rent growth throughout San Diego County in 2021. For example, market area rents in this region have grown 4.5 percent per year over the last five years. Rents even rose in 2020 despite COVID, rising 2.4 percent, which underscores the strength of North San Diego County,” added John Drachman, co-founder, Waterford. “This is a vital solution to countering the rising cost of housing in California, which is why many of the cities we are working with are now adding more properties to this essential housing program.”

With this portfolio acquisition, Waterford now administers 15 communities in Southern California that have been converted from market rate to essential housing bringing its portfolio to 4,014 units and over $2.4 billion of tax-exempt bond issuances, confirming the firm as the most active sponsor in CSCDA’s middle income housing program in California.

Waterford Property Company is a diversified real estate investment and development company with an established track record in the acquisition and development of over $2 billion in multifamily and commercial properties. Its expertise includes developing mixed-use multifamily projects throughout California, developing and investing in affordable housing and repositioning existing commercial properties. It is led by its co-founders John Drachman and Sean Rawson. For more information, visit www.waterfordco.com.

CSCDA is a joint powers authority founded by the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties in 1988 to enable local government and eligible private entities access to low-cost, tax-exempt financing for projects that provide a tangible public benefit, contribute to social and economic growth and improve the overall quality of life in local communities throughout California. CSCDA is comprised of more than 530 cities, counties and special districts, and has issued more than $65 billion through 1,700 plus transactions across its diverse public benefit financing programs. For more information, visit www.cscda.org.

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Parents Face Long Waits for Car Seats and Other Baby Items

Almost as soon as Eryn Yates made it through her first trimester of pregnancy last spring, she started shopping for her dream nursery.

But getting the items she wanted turned into a nightmare.

The crib that she had ordered from Crate & Barrel arrived within weeks, but the rocking chair from Pottery Barn Kids was back-ordered for months, and then lost somewhere in transit. The delivery of the dresser she was going to use as her changing table was repeatedly postponed until West Elm informed her that it would be delivered in late April or May 2022 — more than six months after her daughter’s birth.

“I definitely thought that we were ahead of the game since we started ordering everything so early,” said Ms. Yates, 27, who lives in Winter Garden, Fla., and works in health care. “I was wrong.”

Global supply chain disruptions wrought by the pandemic have snarled the delivery of items as varied as medical devices, toys and Grape-Nuts. But perhaps no delays have provoked more familial angst in the last two years than those for baby items.

more than 3.6 million births in the United States in 2020.

The result of the baby-supply upheaval — besides higher prices and an ever-bustling hand-me-down market — has been an injection of new stress and uncertainty into an already emotionally delicate time. Expectant parents are scrambling to get items before they bring their babies home, and retailers and manufacturers are racing to reassure them that their goods will come, and devising hasty solutions if they won’t. Message boards on sites for new parents teem with complaints over back orders and repeated shipment delays. Retailers have become accustomed to soothing anxious parents-to-be.

“These are pregnant women that are all having their babies,” said Lauren Logan, the owner of the Juvenile Shop, a family-run baby retailer in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles. “They are hormonal, but they are pregnant — they want their stuff. I don’t blame them. I want their stuff for them.”

traced to the outbreak of Covid-19, which triggered an economic slowdown, mass layoffs and a halt to production. Here’s what happened next:

On the receiving end are customers who don’t need another source of anxiety. First-time parents often research heavily before selecting strollers, cribs, car seats and other wares. And out-of-stock items can crimp registries; Babylist says new parents often select 100 to 200 items.

After Gina Catallo-Kokoletsos, 33, and her husband finally agreed on a crib from Pottery Barn Kids, her father placed the order as a gift in July. Originally, the crib was supposed to ship in October, giving just enough time before the couple’s baby was due in November. But when Ms. Catallo-Kokoletsos checked in September, she saw that the shipment date had been pushed to January.

“I called them, and they were like, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s going to be delayed.’ And I said, ‘Well, my baby is due before that,’” said Ms. Catallo-Kokoletsos, who lives in Chico, Calif., and works at an animal shelter. She ended up canceling the order and choosing a crib from a small company she had never heard of. That crib arrived on time, but other items on her baby registry, including a rocking chair, went out of stock before she could get them.

“I knew none of it was the end of the world,” she said. “It just kind of gets frustrating after a while.”

Further complicating matters for some expectant parents are deeply ingrained beliefs about buying or receiving items before their babies are born.

Joelle Fox, 35, a naturopathic physician in Scottsdale, Ariz., who is expecting a baby boy in January, said she was wary of ordering anything in part because of a custom among many Jewish people of not having baby things in the house until the baby arrives.

“It’s kind of a tradition that women have done, and I was kind of following that,” she said, adding that she also wanted to research items carefully to make sure they were not harmful. But the supply chain issues compelled her to start buying some items for the nursery at the end of October, a decision that she said prompted “a lot of emotions.”

Even still, she said, the dresser she ordered from Wayfair is not supposed to ship until mid-January. “That has definitely put a bit of a damper on everything, because I can’t get the room completely set up,” she said.

At around 36 weeks pregnant, Ms. Yates in Florida, whose daughter was born in October, gave up on receiving the West Elm dresser and bought one from Ikea. She cut off its legs and replaced them with metal ones that matched the crib she had bought.

She had less luck with her Pottery Barn Kids chair, which she had ordered in June. After it failed to arrive, she felt so desperate that she emailed corporate customer service and copied the chief executive. By the time she was told in October that the chair had been lost, the color and fabric she wanted were no longer available. The company ended up sending her a loaner chair, in a different color, “so I at least had something in the room for me to use.”

Ms. Yates said that she was sympathetic to the companies’ struggles, but that the ordeal still had left her in tears.

“I was not a very emotional pregnant woman — I had a very short temper, rather than being a crier,” she said. “But when it came to the nursery, I cried a lot, because I had this picture of exactly what I wanted, and then it just felt like one thing after another.”

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Riot Games to Pay $100 Million in Gender Discrimination Case

Riot Games, the video game maker behind popular titles like League of Legends and Valorant, said on Monday evening that it had agreed to pay $100 million to settle a gender discrimination suit with more than 2,000 current and former female employees.

The class-action lawsuit, which was filed in 2018, was originally on track for a $10 million settlement, but in early 2020 two California employment agencies took the unusual step of intervening to block the settlement, arguing that the women could be entitled to over $400 million. Separate of the lawsuit, the state had been investigating the company after claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, unequal pay and retaliation against women.

If the settlement is approved by the Los Angeles Superior Court, it will “send the message that all industries in California, including the gaming industry, must provide equal pay and workplaces free from discrimination and harassment,” Kevin Kish, the director of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, said in a statement.

Under the terms of the agreement, more than 1,000 full-time employees and 1,300 contractors dating back to November 2014 would split $80 million, with another $20 million going to lawyers’ fees and other costs. Riot also agreed to fund a diversity and inclusion program and consented to a three-year, third-party analysis of gender equity in employee pay and job assignments, as well as to an audit of workplace investigations.

Activision Blizzard — Riot has also contended with frequent accusations of harassment and a work environment that women described as sexist and toxic.

sued over claims he sexually harassed his former executive assistant. That case is still pending. A committee formed by the company’s board of directors later said it found no evidence of the claims against Mr. Laurent.

In an email to the company’s employees viewed by The New York Times, sent minutes before the settlement announcement, Mr. Laurent wrote that the timing “isn’t ideal” but the “final details of the agreement came together quickly.” He said he hoped the settlement “symbolizes a moment where we move forward as a united company.”

The proposed settlement on Monday was hailed as a win for women at Riot.

“I hope this case serves as an example for other studios and an inspiration for women in the industry at large,” one plaintiff, Jes Negron, said in a statement issued through a lawyer. “Women in gaming do not have to suffer inequity and harassment in silence — change is possible.”

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AHF: L.A. Times Ad Highlights Barclay Hotel’s New Life as Affordable Housing

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AHF and its Healthy Housing Foundation hosted a turn-of-the-century themed holiday reception and cornerstone plaque dedication ceremony Wednesday in Downtown Los Angeles to mark AHF’s acquisition and conversion of the Barclay Hotel to affordable housing for extremely-low-income and formerly homeless individuals. AHF purchased the 158-unit Barclay—the oldest continually operating hotel in Los Angeles—in October and has been working to renovate and upgrade the units before people move in. The Barclay is located at 103 West 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013.

To mark the occasion, AHF and the Healthy Housing Foundation will also run a new advocacy ad in the Los Angeles Times to highlight this latest acquisition and encourage and promote the adaptive reuse of existing older buildings as affordable housing stock. It is set to run this Sunday, December 26, 2021. Headlined “The Barclay is Reborn,” the full-page, four-color newspaper ad shares an old photo of the hotel from a bygone era with the simple text:

“Reimagining a classic historic hotel, as a low-cost housing solution, to an urgent humanitarian crisis for 158 Angelenos. The Healthy Housing/AHF family is 1,183 units at 11 properties with more on the way.”

The ad closes with the tagline “There are practical, affordable solutions if we truly care.”

Speakers at the Barclay plaque dedication event this week included Michael Weinstein, AHF President; Dominique Eastman, Regional Property Operations Manager for AHF’s Healthy Housing Foundation, who was at one point himself unhoused; Hon. Tony Vazquez, California Board of Equalization Member; Hon. Henry Stern, California Senator – 27th District; Michael Lawson, Los Angeles Urban League President and Cynthia Davis, MPH, AHF Board Member.

The Barclay Hotel becomes the eleventh hotel or motel in the Los Angeles area that Healthy Housing Foundation has purchased and repurposed as homeless or extremely-low-income housing since 2017 when AHF first kicked off its housing program. In addition to the Barclay Hotel, Healthy Housing also has one additional L.A. area hotel purchase for use as affordable housing pending, near HHF’s Sinclair Hotel, which became part of AHF’s ‘family of housing’ in April. Healthy Housing Foundation also has plans to build new affordable housing units in Fort Lauderdale near its AHF Southern Bureau Headquarters and many of its AHF affiliate organizations across the U.S. are also involved in providing affordable housing in their communities.

AHF launched Healthy Housing Foundation in 2017 to address the rampant affordable housing crisis sweeping the nation by providing fast, easy, and compassionate access to affordable housing with a focus on addressing the needs of low-income individuals, struggling families, youth, and those living with chronic illness.

“AHF’s Healthy Housing Foundation focuses on the faster, much less expensive model of adaptive reuse of existing buildings, repurposing them as housing for those previously unsheltered, homeless and/or for extremely-low-income individuals,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AHF. “We wanted to highlight this housing model with a festive, old-time holiday-themed reception and plaque dedication ceremony recognizing and honoring the long history of the Barclay and also celebrating its new life as affordable housing for those in need.”

AHF previously renovated and repurposed ten historic or older Los Angeles buildings. With this latest building, AHF has now created a combined total of 1,183 units in L.A. in our effort to more quickly house individuals and families.

“Due to the enormity of the homeless and housing affordability crises, we need viable solutions that are economic and fast because communities—and the people in those communities—simply cannot wait any longer,” added Weinstein.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.6 million individuals in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us @aidshealthcare.

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Daikin Announces Daikin ATMOSPHERA with R-32 Refrigerant

HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–For the first time in North America, Daikin is launching a home comfort product featuring R-32, a refrigerant with one-third the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of the most common refrigerants currently being used in the United States and Canada.

The new Daikin ATMOSPHERA system featuring R-32 refrigerant from Daikin North America LLC is a single zone, ductless system that gains impressive efficiencies over its R-410A predecessor line, the LV Series, with up to 27.4 SEER, 13.8 HSPF and 16.3 EER ratings for ultra-efficient cooling and heating. Four sizes of indoor and outdoor heat pumps are available, from 9,000 to 24,000 BTU.

“Daikin has sold over 33 million R-32 systems in more than 100 countries and regions,” said Takayuki (Taka) Inoue, Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. “We are excited to be the first to bring this proven technology to North America. With an estimated 160 million R-32 systems sold by Daikin combined with other manufacturers worldwide, we are confident R-32 has the all-around performance benefits to make it the ideal replacement for R-410A.”

“Daikin ATMOSPHERA brings North America a powerful, new single-zone system that has a lower GWP, is more efficient and may help lower end-user electric bills compared to R-410A models,” explains Connie Schroder, Sr. Product Manager – Single and Multi-Zone Systems for Daikin. “We’ve also built advanced features into Daikin ATMOSPHERA heat pumps that improve comfort, cleanliness, and usability while simplifying maintenance.”

Daikin ATMOSPHERA’s heat pump performance over its R-410A predecessor is substantial, offering greatly enhanced heating and cooling capacities. The units feature up to 100 percent rated heating capacity at 5°F WB ( -15° C WB) and confirmed continuous operation as low as -13°F WB (-25°C WB). Rated cooling capacity is up to 100 percent at 115°F DB (46°C DB).

New hybrid cooling technology efficiently controls humidity, even in low-cooling loads, and maintains dehumidification effect after the target temperature is reached. Daikin ATMOSPHERA’s novel “CLEAN” operation dries the interior of the indoor unit to reduce the amount of condensation present, while a detachable drain pan allows for easy cleaning.

With the indoor unit’s built-in Wi-Fi, the system can be controlled via the internet with the Daikin Comfort Control App without the need for an additional adaptor. Daikin ATMOSPHERA’s Intelligent Eye employs an infrared sensor to detect movement in the room. If the room is empty for 20 minutes, the set point is changed to start saving energy.

Installation is now more flexible with 50 percent longer piping lengths up to 49 feet, compared to other Daikin single zone systems.

Indoor units include a wireless infrared controller and are compatible with the full suite of optional s21-based single and multi-zone controls solutions, including the Daikin One+ smart thermostat.

Daikin ATMOSPHERA is currently available in Washington, Oregon, and Florida.

Daikin ATMOSPHERA single zone systems are backed by a 12-year parts limited warranty. Complete warranty details available from your local dealer/contractor or at www.daikincomfort.com. To receive the 12-year parts limited warranty, online registration must be completed within 60 days of installation. Online registration is not required in California or Québec.

For more about Daikin ATMOSPHERA and the low-GWP potential benefits of R-32, visit www.DaikinAtmosphera.com and www.R32Reasons.com.

###

About Daikin

Daikin Industries, Ltd. (DIL) is a Fortune 1,000 company with more than 84,870 employees worldwide and is the world’s number 1 air conditioning company. Daikin North America LLC (DNA) is a subsidiary of DIL. DNA and its affiliates manufacture heating and cooling systems for residential, commercial and industrial use and are sold via independent HVAC contractors. DNA engineering and manufacturing is located at Daikin Texas Technology Park near Houston, TX. For additional information, visit www.northamerica-daikin.com.

Additional Information:

Before purchasing this appliance, read important information about its estimated annual energy consumption, yearly operating cost, or energy efficiency rating that is available from your retailer.

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It’s Been a Home for Decades, but Legal Only a Few Months

As a designer who specializes in residential structures, Luis Martinez has lived this at home, and has now made it his career. His design business, Studioo15, has surged over the past two years as residents across Los Angeles have used the new state laws to add thousands of backyard units. Yet about half of his clients, he said, are people like his parents who want to have existing units legalized.

Bernardo and Tomasa Martinez, both in their early 60s, immigrated to Los Angeles from Mexico in 1989. Working in the low-wage service sector — she was a waitress; he worked as a laborer loading a truck — they settled in a two-bedroom house in South Los Angeles that had four families and 16 people. Luis Martinez, who crossed the border as a child, was surrounded by love and family, in a house where money was tight and privacy nonexistent.

Eventually the family was able to buy a small three-bedroom in Boyle Heights, on the east side of Los Angeles. It sits on a block of fading homes that have chain link fences in the front and a detached garage out back. To supplement the family income, the Martinezes converted the garage into a rental unit without a permit. Bernardo Martinez and a group of local handymen raised the floor and installed plumbing that fed into the main house, while Luis helped with painting.

Luis remembers that nobody complained, probably because the neighbors were doing the same thing. “It was normal,” he said, “like, ‘I live in the garage’ and some garages were nicer than others.”

Mr. Martinez went to East Los Angeles College after high school, then transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, where he got an architecture degree in 2005. In the years after graduation, when the Great Recession struck, his father lost his job and, after a spell of unemployment, took a minimum wage job mowing the lawn at a golf course. To help with bills, they rented the garage unit to Bernardo Martinez’s brother for $500 a month. With the minimum wage, you can’t afford to pay a mortgage and food for everybody,” Tomasa Martinez said.

The point of informal housing is that it’s hard to see — it is built to elude zoning authorities or anyone else who might notice from the street.

Jake Wegmann, a professor of urban planning at the University of Texas at Austin, describes this as “horizontal density,” by which he means additions that make use of driveways and yard space, instead of going up a second or third floor. Because both the tenants and owners of these units don’t want to be discovered, there is essentially no advocacy on behalf of illegal housing dwellers, even though the number of tenants easily goes into the millions nationwide.

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