The Causes of - and a Solution to - the Unaffordable Rental Rates in Los Angeles
An article appearing online at Curbed Los Angeles finds that nearly 60 PERCENT of Angelenos simply cannot afford their monthly rental payment, according to a report released by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies last December.
Specifically, the study finds a total of 58.5% of Los Angeles renters are in fact "burdened" by the payments stipulated in their lease agreements, which is defined by renters who reported spending at least 30 percent of their paychecks on rent. This is traditionally known as the threshold before the point where keeping a roof over your head begins to draw finances away from other things, such as food, healthcare, transportation and utilities, nevermind the common creature-comforts of today such as cell phones, internet and cable television.
The article identifies the causes of this issue as found within a multitude of factors:
1) A CapitalOne/NYU report found that, between 2006 and 2013, rental rates had gone up double-digits - by 11 percent - while wages in Los Angeles had FALLEN by four percent over the same period.
2) During the first six months of 2015, the City of Los Angeles issued permits for buildings comprising less than 20,000 new rental units, putting the pace for the year at under 40,000. Meanwhile, government studies find that Los Angeles must build 55,000 new units each year just to keep rental rates flat, when adjusted for inflation. In a city made up of 55% renters, this is a major problem.
No wonder homelessness has spiked under Mayor Garcetti. Now it makes perfect sense as to why his 'top homelessness advisor' - and whatever that six-figure slush-fund of a 'job' entails- jumped ship three months ago. With homelessness up 12 percent from 2013 to 2014, and another 6% in 2015, you'd think he didn't quite earn that plum salary now wouldn't you?
The least the Mayor could have done was publicly-guillotine the guy instead of letting him leave quietly. Even if this wasn't his fault directly, which it wasn't, he could've at least fooled a few people into believing he's on it and working to make a difference.
But this was simply not to be. Instead, Mayor Garcetti is set to throw more and more money at the problem because, well, that's what progressives do. And without unworkable problems to throw good money after, there is less demand for progressive policies since they're made to fail, and this puts people like Mayor Garcetti out of a job.
My plan ignores these frivolous considerations and cuts straight to the heart of the matter, while simultaneously ignoring party lines and talking points of both varieties. The plan I will unveil focuses on streamlining government and making City Hall do more with less, kind of like the average Angeleno. Along with help from local non-profits, such as the Weingart Center, which have been successfully housing L.A.'s homeless for decades, we will attack the issue of homelessness with aid from the professionals, and no longer with the leadership of amateurs.
By providing tried and true primary care providers with the necessary resources to do what they've perfected over the years, we take the cold, wasteful, completely non-proactive hand of government out of the equation, and insert the professionals into the mix, as it's clear that City Hall is totally inept at this.
But it goes deeper than that, my fellow Angelenos.
What if I told you that together we could install a system which houses everyone on Skid Row and cuts time spent on the street by the newly homeless to near-zero. A system which houses people in neighborhoods of their choice, and removes the barriers for qualifying for permanent housing, all while coming in at around half the cost of what we pay now to administer aid to the homeless?
What if I told you it's been found to be tried and true for decades while we've tried everything except what works under what is the second-largest spotlight in the United States?
What myself and my team did upon exploring whether to embark on this journey was scour the country - and the world - for the common thread found in what works in the great cities of our nation as well as those found the world over.
That common thread is what is known as Housing First. My plan is titled 'Housing First Los Angeles', and I will be unveiling it in the coming days and weeks.
Housing First is a philosophy based around the immediate removal of a newly homeless person from the streets and placing them in permanent housing, no questions asked. It centers around the proven fact that human beings are more apt to better deal with the underlying problems of their chronic homelessness - substance abuse, mental illness and persistent joblessness - if they first have a stable and safe sanctuary to come home to.
Immediately afterward, case workers get to work on providing the remedy to these issues from a stable home-base, and in looking at the results from places like Denver, CO or Toronto, Canada or the entire state of Utah, it is simply impossible to avoid the problem any longer by throwing stop-gap measures to the tune of billions at the issue.
This shall be the centerpiece of my campaign, as I believe that a stable home is key to providing a brighter future to our children. I've done it myself in adopting my son, Jose, at 12 years old as an orphan, who is now a productive adult who is married and has blessed me with a grandchild. I saw firsthand what this stable home did to transform that young man's life and take him off of the collision course he was on with all but certain struggle, and redirect him toward success.
But I cannot do it alone, and for this reason I ask you to join me in finally putting an end to the madness that has made Los Angeles the epicenter of homelessness in America.
Most importantly, these are neither Republican nor Democratic ideas, but rather pragmatic, practical and workable ideas, above all. This will be a constant theme within my campaign, and I am eager to demonstrate this many times as I communicate with you directly over the next 11 months.
My friends, my neighbors, Americans and otherwise, the choice is now clearer than ever;
Housing First for Los Angeles. Housing First NOW.
God Bless you. God bless America.
And may God bless The City of Los Angeles.