"The rent is too damn high!" Study confirms what we all know causes California's homelessness crisis

Originally published at: "The rent is too damn high!" Study confirms what we all know causes California's homelessness crisis | Boing Boing


This is at least the second one of these studies showing that homelessness in various states is primarily a function of cost, not mental health or drug use (those are causes as well, but at lower rates). I believe the other was for Maine, but I can’t remember now.


A good number of these folks are working poor who can neither afford to rent in the cities where they work nor afford the financial and time costs of commutes from exurban and rural areas where housing is more affordable. I’ve now seen a couple of tent encampments in L.A. where people like this seem to live with partners and (judging by the toys) small children.

Housing First is the main way to start addressing the problem, but of course…


As for the “why does housing cost so much now?” part of the equation it’s largely tied to a decades-long shift in how the investment world sees housing. It used to be that almost everyone thought of homes as “places for people to live.” Now the so-called Free Market has decided that homes are “a commodity to invest in.”


Now that insurance companies are refusing new home policies in California, I really wonder what’s going to happen with housing costs.

Here in Ventura, we’ve seen a city council board go full speed approving high density luxury apartments which remain 80% vacant.


I find the statistic about folks being born in California grimly amusing. A lot of people come here, or are brought here as children. Would love to see how the numbers line up with the general population vs. just home owners. A lot of people who come here are hanging on to housing by the skin of their teeth, and playing apartment roulette as rents go higher every year.


Not sure what’s amusing, exactly. As the statistic notes, the majority of homeless were born in the state.

In the last couple of years the state has actually been losing population due to net migration out of the state.


Everything in late-stage capitalism needs to be a commodity to invest in, or else it’s not being exploited to its full potential to make billionaires richer. Some things like air will just take a little longer to figure out how. :face_exhaling:


In late stage capitalism, everything that can’t be limited in supply to make it an investable commodity is a resource to be exploited. Hence, climate change being an “intractable” problem.


What numbers? My guess is not too many home owners are homeless, but I suppose anything is possible.


That’s interesting, as this means the number is actually disproportionately made up of natives. Which means all the people moving here are causing housing prices to increase to the point where it’s driving the people who already live here into homelessness. The notion that people come to California with no jobs to “bum around” probably dates back to the '60s and earlier (when, ironically, the cost of housing was low enough that you could be pretty marginally employed and still pay rent) - if it was ever true, it was many decades ago.

Only 56% of the population of California were born here, I believe - so more homeless were born in the state than average. Which makes sense as a significant percentage of California immigration is people coming for high-paying jobs that make the state unlivable for the rest of us.


Something not often mentioned that I came across recently is the trend and preference of people living alone.

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shocked holy shit GIF

Yeah, it’s a mystery, huh? OMG…


I don’t think there are a lot of people making a conscious choice to be homeless because they don’t like the idea of living with a roommate.


A very California thing that really hit Gen X is the understanding of the kids in nice places that they will unlikely be able to continue living there. Less than 1/5th the people who went to what would have been my HS Class are still living in Santa Monica, California. Most people I know who still live in California live several cities or counties down graded from our parents.


“I’ll take oxymoronic phrases for $1000, Alex!”

(ETA: not a dig at your phrasing, @SenorSchaffer - really aimed at the developers pushing the concept of “expensive things jammed together with no breathing room”.)


So, here in my county there has been a big push to allow “people” to purchase homes in single family neighborhoods (mostly older ones like the one I live in) and pretty much cram in units across and up on the property.
The problem with that is they have very few barriers for infrastructure changes - but worst of all the properties are being bought by developers with NO requirements at all for lower cost units.
While at the same time, along major transit corridors, we have vacant lots, used car lots, etc… that could be developed specifically around having housing to actually help people and be built with the proper infrastructure in place.
Then there is NIMBYism. When the university close to us started building new housing, the uproar from neighboring streets was unreal, which baffled me because this same housing would help to reduce the number of homes being rented to 8 college kids.
Adjacent to a small health care center on the blvd, when plans started making the rounds about a lot they bought for housing (including low cost), parking, etc… same thing.
Now, another factor - decades of downward pressure on wages. I don’t have enough space here to get into that in detail, but the fact that 15/hour wages are being fought against… WTF.


… how is nobody mentioning the grandfathering of land taxes!? There’s a massive tax incentive for the established land-owners that keeps everyone playing catch up. That’s why I always giggle when people talk about California’s problem of “being too progressive”. Nah, the rich have a mighty powerful regressive tax advantage, ergo why the brunch caucus has so much pull there.

Cosmetic social progresivism over deeply-rooted generational wealth.


Have you ever actually experienced homelessness?

I very much doubt that a significant portion of California’s homeless population are living on the street because they’d rather shit in a gutter than share a bathroom with another human being.


Speaking of repulsive…sounds like something that belongs on the Andrew Tate thread. “Girl?” :nauseated_face:

I wonder how you think this comes across…