It’s no secret that California residents pay more for housing than residents in most other states, especially in the metropolitan coastal areas and Silicon Valley cities. Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Palo Alto and other highly attractive, jobs- and amenities-rich cities are widely documented as being the least-affordable housing markets in California.
Obtaining decent affordable rental housing and earning enough income to sustain a family are increasingly more difficult goals to achieve. The American Dream of homeownership, and of building and maintaining stable communities, is fading in the face of this new socio-economic reality.
Red flags abound: The state’s poorest families pay up to two-thirds of their income on housing, firmly placing them in the severely “rent burdened” category of households. (Families that spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent are considered rent-burdened by the U.S.
One block north of fabled Hollywood Boulevard, and a stone’s throw from the iconic Capitol Records Building, sit three rent-stabilized, two-story apartment buildings, known to residents as the Yucca-Argyle complex. One building is peach-colored, one green and the third yellow. Each is organized around a small courtyard and in back is a parking lot for tenants’ cars. Together they are home to roughly 50 families, the residents ranging in age from young children to old-timers who have lived in the complex for more than half a century.
By most measures the complex’s residents have it good. Living in one of L.A.’s more walkable and vibrant neighborhoods — where cafes, bookstores, night clubs, restaurants and clothing boutiques vie for consumers’ attention — they pay varying amounts above $1,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, beneficiaries of Los Angeles’s 1978 Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO).
Photojournalist Ted Soqui shot these images for today’s story by Sasha Abramsky, Renting in Los Angeles — Dislocation, Dislocation, Dislocation.
California’s housing crisis is a complex one, as befits a state with a population of close to 40 million people, spread out over 163,696 square miles, and with some of the country’s largest cities and fastest growing population hubs, as well as some of its most rugged rural areas.
Los Angeles’ Skid Row sprawls just a few blocks from the skyscrapers of downtown and showcases one of the developed world’s largest concentrations of long-term homeless people. They live in tents and jerry-rigged shanties along the sidewalks and in vacant lots, surround social service agency buildings and provide a vista of misery stunning in its intensity. Only a few miles away, middle- and working-class tenants are being driven from their rent-controlled homes into the exurbs or onto friends’ and relatives’ couches. The causes of this diaspora are developers seeking to capitalize on Hollywood’s soaring real estate values and the city’s “densification” development strategy that prioritizes large-scale,
“No Direction Home” reaches many troubling conclusions about California’s housing market