Homelessness in California is growing worse according to the most recent federal data.
The state’s homeless population jumped 13.7 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the San Jose Mercury News reported. That means that on an average night, about 134,000 Californians do not have a home.
The increase comes on top of a rise in homelessness that made California responsible for about 25 percent of the homeless people in America as of 2017, The New York Times reported.
Much of the increase has been in and around Los Angeles, where about 55,000 people are homeless on an average day, a 75 percent increase over the past six years, the Los Angeles Times reported. Add in some key suburbs and the figure jumps to 58,000 homeless, more than 40 percent of the overall homeless population of the state.
Mr. Governor here is your problem: “As of 2017, California had about 134,000 homeless people, up nearly 14 percent from the prior year, according to a U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department report” how about taking care of them first?
— D Hirsh (@cruseleb1) November 30, 2018
One LA official said the issue is not that the city cannot help those who are homeless find shelters; it is that the number of homeless keeps growing because of housing costs.
“We are moving more homeless families and adults into housing,” said Phil Ansell, director of the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative. “What we have less control over is the inflow: people who simply are unable to pay the rent.”
That’s because California has what many call a housing crisis.
“We now know that there is a very close connection between housing costs and homelessness,” said Margot Kushel, director of the University of California San Francisco Center for Vulnerable Populations.
Housing costs across the state are rising.
The Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley said the cost of building a 100-unit affordable housing project was about $425,000 per unit in 2016, up from $265,000 per unit in 2000.
As costs for homes rise, rental prices increase as well.
Even though San Francisco has a median income of $82,900, people who make up to 120 percent of that amount still face problems meeting the rent, according to the San Francisco Planning Commission.
Steven Greenhut, the Western region director for R Street Institute, a Washington-based think tank, said regulation has hurt the problem, not fixed it, according to the National Catholic Register.
“We’ve screwed up the whole housing market through all these regulations,” Greenhut said.
For example, building fees can add 6 percent to 18 percent to the cost of a home, while new solar panel rules increase the price of a house by $10,000.
To fight the increase in homelessness, some communities have turned to taxation.
In San Francisco, voters approved a tax on businesses that its advocates hope will bring in $300 million that can be used to help the homeless, NBC reported.
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