How the City of Los Angeles is Solving Its Growing Homeless Population Crisis

Despite a booming economy, the number of homeless citizens in the City of Los Angeles is still on the rise. The latest statistics show that it went up by 16% from the previous year’s figure, making the number of unsheltered people in LA the largest in the U.S.

Current estimate indicated in the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count places about 36,300 LA individuals in homeless condition on any given night. Majority of whom are located right in the city; some setting up tents on a public lawn or on the pavements outside of City Hall, while the majority live in the makeshift shanties populating Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) reported that although it was able to help 21, 631 people move into permanent shelters in 2018, economic pressures had evicted thousands more in 2019. It is not because these people were jobless; but the wages they earn remain low and stagnant. As a result, many could not keep up with the rising costs of rent, or to prevent foreclosures from happening.

Peter Lynn, the former Executive Director of LAHSA had explained in June 2019 that

“Minimum wage has moved much slower than rents — putting folks under great economic pressure.” “That is why many fall into homelessness on a continuing basis.”

The Root Cause of the U.S. Housing Crisis

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development defines affordable housing as one in which a resident pays more than 30% of their income.

However, the rate by which improvements and renovations had taken place in districts, raised the value of the properties to levels that made affordable housing available only to the middle class. The low-wage earners were taken out of the context of the available housing definition, which led to the increase in the number of homeless people not only in LA but throughout the U.S.

Apparently, those who purchased their property under a home mortgage agreement but later encountered difficulties in meeting their monthly mortgage obligations did not seek advice for potential solutions to their problem. In LA, had they sought advice from a los angeles mortgage broker, they would have known about the loan restructuring facility that is usually offered to borrowers experiencing financial difficulties.

Restructuring of a loan entails the creation of new loan that will be used to pay off the balance of the old mortgage loan. The new loan will have a lower monthly installment, which the borrower will pay over a longer period of time. The main purpose of a restructured loan is to prevent the ballooning of the old loan balance, which tends to increase once past due interests and penalty charges will have been added to the monthly installments due. .

Actions Taken by the LA City Government in Addressing the Growing Population of Homeless Citizens

Many concerned Angelenos, through civic organizations and religious congregations, have urged their respective district council members to allot funds for building 222 new supportive housing units in each of their area of responsibility. According to the LAHSA, this initiative has so far placed 8,625 new housing units currently in the pipeline.

In addition, local governments in LA County are currently running “The Backyard Home Project.” The project gives qualified Angeleno homeowners $75,000 funding to build an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in their backyard. Approval of the funding is backed by a supplementary ADU bill previously passed by the California state legislature. As a condition, the ADU built under the sponsorship of the Backyard Home Project, will be rented out to former homeless citizens.