According to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs (HUD) study released in August, Los Angeles and New York City top the list of U.S. cities with the most amounts of poor people laboring under heavy rent burdens, living in substandard housing, or both. Surprisingly, more than half of Los Angeles’ 1 million very poor households, or 567,000, spent more than half their income on rent or resorted to undesirable housing in 2015. Rising rents have been linked to Los Angeles’ explosive homelessness problem, which grew 23 percent last year, to 58,000 people countywide, officials reported based on a January street and shelter count. Nationwide, HUD reported that the number of households with worst-case housing needs ballooned 66 percent since 2001, with record increases between 2007 and 2011, when mortgage foreclosures and unemployment dramatically expanded. HUD Secretary Ben Carson stated,
Today’s affordable rental housing crisis requires that we take a more [business]-like approach on how the public sector can reduce the regulatory barriers so the private markets can produce more housing for more families.
Those affected cut across racial and ethnic groups and regional borders, and included families with children, senior citizens and people with disabilities. While incomes rose between 2013 and 2015, rents increased nearly as fast, and rent hikes for the poorest tenants outpaced income gains, the report said. The study excluded renters who receive government housing aid. Hopefully the housing situation in California improves to avoid having more people becoming homeless.