LA’s Housing Crisis Worsens As City Faces Increase In Homelessness

Los Angeles County’s housing crisis does not appear to be improving. LA Weekly reports that home prices are at their highest point since 2007, according to monthly data from CoreLogic. Listing sites show that the median monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles County is $2,600.

According to LA Weekly, a recent report by the California Housing Partnership estimates that the local government will need to build 551,807 more affordable housing units to keep up with growing poverty rates — which is currently at 25%.

“We’re in a real crisis in terms of meeting this need,” Lisa Payne, policy director of the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing said in a statement to LA Weekly. “It’s not complicated. People need a home. We need to invest in creating and preserving affordable homes.”

LA County residents would require a $48.06 per hour wage to keep up with these housing prices, according to LA Weekly. As home prices increase, mortgages and rents take over resident budgets. The average window replacement, for example, costs between $300 and $700, a price that is unreachable when struggling to afford housing.

“Prices are rising faster than incomes,” Selma Hepp, chief economist with Los Angeles brokerage John Aaroe Group, said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “A lot of people are going to be pushed out.”

Payne told LA Weekly that living in unaffordable homes is risky for these residents who cannot afford them, increasing the risk of homelessness. And according to data from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, homelessness was up 5.7% in 2016.

“These are people who are housed, but they’re housed in places they can’t afford,” she said. “If you’re overpaying, paying more than 50% of your income on rent, or doubling or tripling up on roommates, you’re one unexpected event from being thrown out.”

Nationally, home ownership appears to be changing for middle class families but not nearly at Los Angeles County rates. A recent CNBC report shows that many homeowners are choosing to renovate rather than sell, citing rising credit scores and home equity lines of credit. A minor kitchen remodel, for example, has an ROI of 82.7% on average, offering more benefit for families who can afford it. And since home prices are rising, many homeowners are determined to improve their home’s resale value as much as possible.

In 2015, Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council declared a housing state of emergency, allocating $138 million to fight homelessness. He told LA Weekly last year that the city is facing a record housing shortage and the government will continue to push for long-term solutions.

“As a city, we have launched efforts to tackle these issues — securing record federal investments in supportive services for veteran families, producing a comprehensive homelessness strategy report, and expanding a robust winter shelter program,” Garcetti said. “This year, we are doubling down on our work.”