War on Homelessness in Los Angeles – Den

According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, “homelessness begins to rise when the median rent in a region exceeds 22% of the median income … in Los Angeles, the median rent is 46.7%, or nearly half the median income.” This means that the average income in LA does not keep pace with the city’s extreme rental rates, causing more people to fall victim to homelessness every day.

Tanya Myers, a resident of Aetna Street in Van Nuys, has been homeless fourteen times in the last ninety years. Along with her husband and twenty-year-old son, Myers was placed in an apartment in November 2019 using an LA Family Housing, a housing supplement. There she had to endure poor ventilation conditions and inhuman treatment from the building owners. In addition, LA Family Housing failed to conduct routine housing inspections and provide them with the right resources.

When Myers and her family were evicted from the apartment, they were back on the streets of LA because of the high rents. “You do not even have to make affordable housing, just make what is available affordable,” she said in terms of what the city can do in the midst of the ongoing housing crisis.

Myers’ husband, who was diagnosed with skin cancer, and her son, who regularly suffers from seizures, do not receive consistent treatment through MediCal. These questions do not apply specifically to Tanya, but rather to the entire homeless community.

Some members of the homeless community are still aiming to complete their education despite their unstable living conditions, which is why Santa Monica College (SMC) has partnered with Safe Place for Youth (SPY) to connect students facing housing insecurity with the right resources.

Sarah Fay, Campus Peer Navigator at SMC, provided some options that students can look for if faced with housing insecurity, “there are two places that are more student-focused, The Opportunity House and the Shower of Hope.” Both of these organizations specialize in helping the homeless by making the necessary resources available. To get in touch with Sarah, send an email to sfay@safeplaceforyouth.org or call 424-428-0159.

While temporary housing through social programs is plaster to gunshot wounds, it is essential to continue to address the basic needs of the uninhabited members of the surrounding communities and demand a policy change against laws criminalizing homelessness, such as section 41.18 as a longer term solution.

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