Cities are eco systems; one problem creates another just as one solution creates another. We can’t address a permanent solution to homelessness without also doing something to stem the skyrocketing cost of living and the housing shortage in Los Angeles that puts many Angelenos in jeopardy of losing their homes.
UCLA recently released an alarming study that found that many L.A. County residents are fearful of potentially losing their homes and becoming homeless, because they can’t afford to pay for basic costs of living like food and housing. The bottom line; housing is difficult to obtain and maintain for a large swath of the public due to a lack of affordable housing units combined with insufficient and stagnant incomes.
Since 2014 the average monthly rent has risen by 55% while the medium income level has ticked up only 13%. According to experts, on average a person living in LA needs to earn at least $33 an hour, or $68,640 a year, to be able to afford an apartment in Los Angeles County. Since most L.A. residents earn much less than this, they end up spending an average of 47 percent of their income on rent – the highest percentage in the nation.
Even with the minimum wage being expanded to $15 by 2020, most of our citizens are earning less than half what they need to be able to subsist in our city.
The only solution is to create more affordable homes, more quickly. But in order to keep the supply on par with the demand we have to be adding roughly 100,000 homes to the market every year. This is simply not possible unless we can reduce the regulations that restrict building new homes and apartments and pass regulations that favor low income housing development over big budget building projects and developers.
We also need to embrace new building techniques, new methods of construction and new technologies. One possible solution is 3D printing which uses cheaper, often recycled materials and cutting edge designs that require far less raw materials. China has been using prototypes to build high quality homes in staggeringly short periods of time, recently printing ten homes in 24 hours, for $5,000 each. Not ony does this building method cut material and labor costs, It also reduces waste and carbon emissions.
Heart first politics require us to be open to any and all ideas that can provide real solutions!