A UCLA Luskin Center study of the homeless in Los Angeles traces this unresolved social problem to the 1930s, when homeless settlements were called Hoovervilles. In response, Los Angeles initiated its own public housing program, a responsibility assumed by the federal government between 1934 and 1937, with the formation of the Federal Housing Administration. Over the next four decades, the federal government undertook funding for public housing and subsidized housing through local housing authorities.
There were exceptions, such as California’s 400 local redevelopment agencies. Until the state legislature and Governor Brown dissolved them in 2011, they spent 20% of their tax increase funding on state-subsidized housing, typically built by housing corporations in non-profit.
Given this remarkable story, how did we come to an ever-worsening housing crisis in the United States, with at least 600,000 people homeless every night. Plus, a basic two-bedroom apartment is out of the financial reach of the poorest tenants in any county in the United States. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition:
“In most parts of the United States, a family of four with an income on the poverty line earns no more than $ 25,750 and can afford a monthly rent of up to $ 644. The average national market rent for a one-bedroom house is $ 970 per month and $ 1,194 for a two-bedroom house, far from affordable for a family in poverty.. “
Of course, in expensive housing markets like Los Angeles, the housing crisis is much worse as the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles is $ 2,900 per month. About 10 percent of the nation’s homeless live in Los Angeles County, with individuals and settlements visible in every community, no longer clustered in DTLA’s historic Skid Row neighborhood.
This housing crisis did not happen on its own. It is the result of deliberate political decisions at all levels of government over the past half century. These are the most important milestones that produced this crisis, and it is expected to continue in the years to come.
- Step 1) Beginning with the Nixon administration (1968-1973), the federal government gradually wound up HUD social housing programs. This gas purge was so complete that some local activists use the European term, Social housing. Are they unaware that there are 1.1 million historic social housing units left in the United States and that they house 2 million people? If these HUD programs had continued, this country could be filled with an additional million units of low-cost social housing to meet the needs of the homeless, rent-overcrowded and overcrowded.
- 2nd step) Failure to index the minimum wage of $ 7.25 / hour passed by Congress in 2009 to inflation or the price of housing has left millions of people overpriced. The offer is there, but for too many tenants, the rent is damn too high. The cost of existing housing forces them to live in overcrowded conditions, paying more than 30% of their income in rent, living in cars or sleeping on sidewalks.
- Step 4) Reductions in spending on social services, mental health, and addiction care in California have forced many people to live on the streets without proper care.
- Step 5) Relying on the Los Angeles Police Department to treat homelessness as a crime has forced many settlements to move to other neighborhoods, without improving the underlying causes of homelessness.
- Step 6) Privatizing public housing, for example by offering density bonuses to private developers who pledge to rent about 10 percent of completed units to low-income tenants, has not been successful, according to LA City Comptroller Ron Galperin.
- Step 7) Avoiding sending Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID) inspectors to private sector density bonus apartments means that the city hall is unable to verify that the promised low-cost apartments exist and are rented at. approved low-income tenants.
- Step 8) Failure to compile an accurate HCID registry of premium density apartments and low income tenants who qualify for premium density housing compounds the housing crisis in Los Angeles, not better.
- Step 9) Counting building permits issued for bonus density apartments, instead of low cost rental units completed and rented to certified low income tenants, creates a false impression that the privatization of social housing is a viable alternative to HUD projects. and CRA.
- Step 10) Neglecting to monitor the awe-inspiring claims of residents at the top, that zone changes reduce homelessness, increase transit ridership and decrease greenhouse gas emissions, also worsens the housing crisis.
- Step 12) Blaming immigrants in the Red States for the housing crisis and owner-occupiers of single-family homes in the Blue States for homelessness hides the real culprits. The elected officials responsible for the cuts to public housing and public health programs are off the hook. Meanwhile, speculative real estate investors who profit so much from up-zoning are escaping media attention. This is why the counter-terms of WIMBY (Wall Street in My Backyard) and Fauxgressive (false progressives) were deployed to reveal who is behind the curtain.
These are the most important stages responsible for the current housing crisis. They also explain why this crisis will not heal on its own, but could be reversed so that everyone has a roof over their heads, regardless of their income or location.