The latest State of the Nation’s Housing report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies claims that Los Angeles ranked among the top cities for “cost burdened” renters in the nation. The Greater Los Angeles Area, along with Orange County, was grouped in with Miami, New York, and Honolulu, among other cities, as metropolitan areas with the largest rent problems. Harvard found that over 57.1 percent of people in the Greater Los Angeles Area are paying 30 percent or more of their income on rent. Riverside and San Diego also have a high rental cost burden at 56.7 percent and 54.6 percent. Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies, states:
The reason it’s so important is that if you’re spending a lot on housing, you have very little to spend on whatever else you need in life. The rent eats first.
Surprisingly, San Francisco, which is often cited as the highest rent and home price city in the nation, had a cost burden of only 46.4 percent because folks there are generally wealthier. According to the report, 70 percent of local renters in the Greater Los Angeles Area that make $30,000 to $45,000 are cost burdened. This means that almost 1.3 million people in the Greater Los Angeles Area suffer from some level of cost burden when it comes to rent. To make matters worse, an analysis from rental listings site Zillow earlier this year revealed that the average renter in African American and Latino communities within Los Angeles are using 60 percent of their income to stay sheltered. More affordable housing is needed in California to remedy the housing crisis and to avoid more people becoming homeless.