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
“It’s raining! It’s pouring! Evictions are soaring!” chanted the small but defiant crowd on the corner of Vermont and Franklin avenues in Los Angeles’ gentrifying Los Feliz neighborhood. Holding signs reading, “Honk if your rent is too high” and “Where will you go when you can’t afford your neighborhood?” the demonstrators had come to protest the Ellis Act eviction of the residents of 1655-65 Rodney Drive from their 12 rent-stabilized apartments.
Enacted in 1985, the Ellis Act provides a way for landlords to get out of the rental business other than selling their properties. Under this law, a landlord can evict an entire property’s residents with 120 days’ notice for most tenants, or a full year’s notice for senior citizens and disabled tenants. If the landlord tries to re-rent the apartment within five years,
High rent and low wages are squeezing poor and low-income families across California, including those living in its capital. But the Sacramento City Council’s actions on both economic issues are weak, some progressive critics say.
“The city caters to the continued gentrification of downtown,” Bob Erlenbusch, executive director of the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness, said in an email to Capital & Main. “That is underpinned by market-rate housing surrounding the new arena.”
In 2014 the Sacramento City Council threw its political weight (without a public referendum) behind Golden 1 Center, the new $507 million downtown arena that is the future home of the Sacramento Kings basketball team. This September the council approved a plan for the city to issue $272.9 million in bonds,
It’s just after dusk on a recent Friday in Los Angeles and already the streets of Los Feliz Village are bumper-to-bumper with the inflow of weekend diners, cocktail loungers and movie- and theatergoers along its main drag, Vermont Avenue.
Apart from being a nightlife hub, the neighborhood boasts highly rated public schools, a very good public library, a still-thriving bookstore and even a good sidewalk newsstand. And they’re all within leisurely walking distance from the single-family Craftsmans, California bungalows and modestly scaled courtyard apartment buildings that line its shaded streets.
Within a stone’s throw of Vermont are is a somewhat nondescript postwar courtyard complex at 1655 Rodney Drive. Though a bit weathered and overgrown on the outside, inside its dozen rent-controlled units are spacious and neatly kept. Its longtime, largely middle-aged gay residents pay around $800 to $1100 a month.
In a city notorious for its atomized sprawl,