The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Homeless in LA
The latest count of the county’s homeless is that nearly 59,000 are homeless in the county of Los Angeles and 36,000 in the city of Los Angeles. The homeless growth rates are 12% and 16% over the past year.
The Good. Over the last year, the County housed 20,000 previously homeless, using the funds approved by the voters as Prop H and Prop HHH. The Bad. However the rates of homelessness increased faster than the new housing for the homeless.
The growth in the homeless is due to a red hot local real estate market with soaring rents, the lack of an adequate supply of affordable housing, and the hourglass economy of many low income struggling to get by counterbalanced by many high income getting ever richer due to the skewed tax codes that were further imbalanced by the Trump tax cuts targeted to the wealthiest individuals and corporations. Housing for the high end is being built while housing for the low income is becoming more unaffordable and less available due to widespread gentrification of lower income communities.
The Truly Ugly. NIMBY-ism is multiplying across the county as the city and county seek to build more shelters and subsidized housing for the homeless. Venice, a progressive but gentrified community, is one of the leading centers of NIMBY-ism, and local real estate interests and some homeowners are using every trick in the book to block urgently needed local homeless shelters. Similarly legislative efforts to relieve homelessness and build more affordable housing are being blocked in the state legislature due to vested housing and homeowner resistance.
References: County Homelessness Grew by 12%, A Total Abdication of Leadership, and County Reacts To News That Homelessness Grew. LA Times 6/5/19. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-homeless-count-los-angeles-reacts-20190605-story.html
Venice Shelter Opposition at https://la.curbed.com/2019/4/16/18410698/venice-homeless-shelter-lawsuit-fundraising; https://patch.com/california/venice/venice-homeless-shelter-takes-shape-summer-opening
The May Massacre of California’s Housing Bills https://la.curbed.com/2019/5/31/18647381/california-housing-homelessness-crisis-bills
Prepared by: Lucien Wulsin