The 16 percent and 12 percent jumps in homelessness in Los Angeles city and county, respectively, sadly underline that we are facing a devastating humanitarian crisis. In total, there are 58,936 homeless people in L.A. County. Elected leaders, including L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, must fundamentally change their approach to solving the housing affordability and homeless crises.
“Not only must L.A. politicians address the homeless crisis more urgently,” says Housing Is A Human Right Director René Christian Moya, “but they need to implement community-based solutions that first and foremost help the most vulnerable. We can’t continue the status quo of harmful trickle-down housing policies.”
Trickle-down housing, which pushes the construction of luxury housing for a housing affordability crisis, has fueled a citywide gentrification crisis in Los Angeles. That leads to soaring rents, record-breaking evictions, and too many people forced into homelessness.
Housing Is A Human Right, the housing advocacy division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, promotes solutions that directly help middle- and working-class residents. We call them the “3 Ps”: protect renters, preserve communities, and produce housing.
Protecting tenants means that we must prevent gentrification and homelessness by keeping rents under control and discouraging evictions. We preserve communities by supporting progressive, sustainable land-use policies that maintain neighborhood integrity and allow working- and middle-class families to stay in their communities. Produce housing means that we build truly affordable housing through adaptive reuse and cost-effective new construction.
The real estate industry has enormous sway over elected officials in L.A. and throughout California. Developers, landlords, lobbyists, and others put profits over people. The real estate industry is the primary proponent of trickle-down housing, which harms middle- and working-class neighborhoods. We must change that — and put people over profit.
It’s why Housing Is A Human Right and AIDS Healthcare Foundation have launched the Rental Affordability Act, a statewide rent control initiative that we seek to place on the 2020 ballot. Top experts at USC, UCLA, UC Berkeley, and Columbia University agree that rent control is a key tool to stabilize the housing affordability crisis, which fuels the homeless crisis.
“The Rental Affordability Act,” says René Christian Moya, “will protect tenants, especially middle- and working-class residents, who are one rent hike away from homelessness.”