LA Ranks 2nd In US For Number Of Struggling Poor, Report Finds

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – The number of poverty-stricken residents in the Los Angeles metropolitan area who either live in substandard conditions, or struggle to cover their rent, is the second-highest in the nation, a new report finds.

L.A. had 1.04 million very low-income renter households in 2015, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Of those, a staggering 55 percent, or 567,000 Angeleno households, lived under what HUD termed “worst-case housing needs.” Those were defined as households who spent more than half their income on rent, lived in severely inadequate conditions, or both.

L.A. was behind only New York City, which had 815,000 of its 1.84 million very low-income households designated in worst-case status, a rate of 44 percent.

Riverside also had a high share of struggling poor. Of its 215,000 very low-income households, 123,000 were in worst-case conditions, a rate of 57 percent.

This comes after a report last week by real estate firm Zillow which calculated that a 5 percent rent hike in the L.A. metro area would push nearly 2,000 more residents into homelessness.

The median rent in the L.A. metro area in June was $2,682, according to Zillow, a 4.2 percent increase from June of 2016.

The L.A. Homeless Services Authority’s annual count in January found 57,794 homeless in the county. That was a 23 percent jump from the year prior. Zillow estimates the L.A. metro population at about 13.3 million.

To read the HUD’s full report, click here.

Comments

One Comment

  1. This is a great example of very weak reporting. The story sounds real factual and serious, but there is zero information on what exactly “severely substandard” housing means and it (as usual) oversimplifies the problem. While the natural reaction is that government should “do something”, the truth is government action is a main source of the problem. The most obvious presumption is that “substandard” means slum conditions, but that’s not necessarily true. It could mean simply overcrowded. Why does that matter? Well, as a landlord in Los Angeles, I can’t fix overcrowding and rent control increases slum conditions and those are both the city’s doing. It is illegal for me to discriminate against a family with children AND there are almost no enforceable standards for occupancy. If someone has a lot of kids, or several families want to (or have to) stack16 people in a 2 BR apartment, there isn’t much a landlord can do about it. Also, because of rent control, owners of older buildings (built after 1971..which is most of the housing) often have tenants paying well below market, which makes it really hard to maintain a building. For example, I have a very nice old lady paying $900 for a 3BR 2BA apartment that would rent for over 3K today. I love her, but subsidizing her impacts what I can do around the place and I don’t get “mortgage control”. The building is old, but my mortgage isn’t. I’m not getting rich. I’m not sitting around with a cigar planning how I’ll exploit the poor. My paycheck from my regular job goes into the building and I have my own life expenses to pay for. The other tenants have to subsidize her or I can’t make expenses. Because she will never move, that unit is essentially off the market for the next decade or so, which restricts the number of available units in the city and drives up prices in the rest. If you happen to have an older building, (exactly the kind most lower income people would normally afford) some units are virtually off the market and the rest have to be priced as high as possible to make up the difference to pay the mortgage, taxes, insurance, and expenses. Once again, government has created a major contributing factor to housing costs and conditions and made owners and newer tenants pay the bill for low income folks. Further, LA has exacerbated the problem by heavily restricting new construction, so new units ALWAYS lag behind population growth (I won’t mention how illegal immigration creates a large pool of about 500,000 low wage people in LA that soak up housing…how about creating work visas so they are legal and might get paid more and get out of poverty…oh wait, that would be the government’s job that they aren’t doing). A large percentage (40%-ish) of rental units in LA are 1 to 4 units owned by individuals as part of their retirement planning (like me)..because I’m not real confident Social Security will be solvent in a couple decades and private pensions aren’t much safer. While I sympathize, why is it my individual duty to subsidize people who can’t afford their own families? Oh right, I’m a “rich” landlord….except I’m just a working stiff doing my 60 hour weeks who bought an apartment instead of a house and spent every dime I had doing it, like many many other people like me.

  2. Note: that 557K in “severely substandard” housing is about the number of illegal immigrants in LA. The immigration debacle and the fact that so many people have no way to be here legally is a long term problem ignored by BOTH parties. If we dealt with it, many of those people would make more money AND that subset of the 557K that should not be here would free up badly needed housing for those here legally.

  3. I guess decades of party-line Democratic Mayors and city council in LA, taxing, spending, borrowing, and virtue signaling with bad policy to look like they are doing something while completely ignoring root causes and conditions hasn’t created a workers utopian paradise yet. I think if we give them more of our pay check, they’ll turn it right around and eliminate poverty.

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