Challenges of Homelessness

Homelessness in Los Angeles has been recognized as a national problem. Many solutions have been presented and put into action yet the problem persists. Many of these solutions also present their own financial and political challenges. Below you can find a few of the top strategies to help reduce homelessness and the hurdles that will have to be overcome.

Federally Funded Subsidized Housing

A key reason for homelessness is due to the lack of affordable housing. Many of those who are living in the Los Angeles area find covering both rent and necessities close to impossible. Federally funded subsidized housing in the form of direct housing subsidies, public housing, rent supplements, or non-profit housing is available to a small percentage of individuals with moderate to low incomes.

However, there has been little advancement in subsidized housing in recent years. Budget cuts to the program have caused many families to lose access to federal subsidized housing. For the 2019 budget proposal, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is expected to lose about $6.8 billion which is 14.2 percent below 2017’s budget.

Locally Subsidized Housing

To ease the homelessness problem in Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti has more than doubled the 2018-2019 budget to mitigate rising homeless crisis. The most significant chunk of the budget, $238.5 million, is dedicated to creating 24 projects that will create 931 new and 321 rehabbed units of permanent supportive housing and 248 new units of affordable housing.

Although the money is budgeted, this will be a minor alleviation to the homeless crisis. It will take several years to build these units and the scale of these efforts is not nearly enough to resolve the issue.

Creating New Shelters

In April of this year, Mayor Garcetti and the City Council declared Los Angeles in an emergency shelter crisis. Thus putting in effect one California’s newest state laws that allow non-profits and faith-based institutions to open shelters at no additional costs. The law also mandates that any city-owned property can become transformed into short-term shelters as well. While these shelters are a great option for some, again the scale is insufficient.