Listen to the LA Times’ bi-weekly housing podcast Gimme Shelter talking about the California’s housing crisis featuring an interview Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on housing and homelessness.
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“I want to give you a prediction here. There will be a major infectious disease epidemic this summer in Los Angeles.” That was the prediction of Dr. Drew Pinsky recently as he spoke of the city’s homeless situation and sanitation crisis. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life, Pinsky said. I feel like I’m on a train track waving at the train and the train is going off the bridge. The bridge is out.”
While this dire prediction may not come to pass, the homeless situation in California is certainly a point of significant concern for those who monitor it and the strain homelessness puts on California’s public resources. Due to an increasing number of homeless people in California — some estimate nearly a quarter of the nation’s homeless population lives in the state, many with mental illness — there is a growing need for safe and affordable housing to keep them off the streets, and out of hospitals and jails which can be very costly to the State, cities and counties, and the health care systems in our communities.
To help combat the problem, California Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed a $1.75 billion package to ease the cost of housing. The proposal sets higher short-term goals for housing that cities and counties must meet, and provides $750 million in support and incentives to help jurisdictions plan and zone for the housing targets. The proposal would also update and modernize the state’s long-term housing goals, known as Regional Housing Needs Allocations (RHNA), to better reflect regional housing and transportation needs.
The proposal includes $1 billion in tax credits and loans to spur low, mixed and middle-income housing production through separate legislative and budget proposals. Even if all of the proposal is adopted however, it would be years before California could build the 3.5 million additional homes a 2016 study by the McKinsey Global Institute estimated California needs by 2025 — as much as the other 49 states combined. The New York Times editorial board has even weighed in on the issues, coming out in support of California Senate Bill 50, which would force local governments to allow higher-density development in areas close to transit and jobs. While the bill has received both praise and criticism, everyone seems to agree California is facing a housing crisis as the median home price in the San Francisco Bay Area is $830,000 and in Los Angeles County at just under $600,000.
While all of these proposals are promising, California is currently only on pace to add about one million housing units by 2025. So while state lawmakers debate over the best way to address California’s housing crisis, property owners, service providers, administrators and caregivers can make a difference today by partnering with 6 Beds Foundation to help end this growing crisis of homelessness. In keeping with the 6Bed’s Foundation mission to help California’s most vulnerable populations, your generous donation will help ease the strain in both Northern and Southern California by providing housing stipends in 6Bed facilities as well as fund the distribution of blankets and supplies on December 21, the first day of winter.