More American homeowners are struggling to afford their homes, contributing to a growing divide between America’s haves and have-nots.
While a lack of affordability has affected every U.S. state, Californians are drowning in the nation’s most expensive housing markets. The state's homeless population jumped nearly 14% from 2016 to 2017, according to an article from The Mercury News.
From the article:
On any given night in California there are about 134,000 people without a home, according to annual data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That’s nearly equivalent to the population of Pasadena or Roseville sleeping on the street, on a bench or in a shelter.
California’s homeless population jumped 13.7% between 2016 and 2017.
And those 134,000 Californians without a place to call home are the visible edge of a much larger, much deeper housing problem in the state. “We now know that there is a very close connection between housing costs and homelessness,” said Margot Kushel, director of the University of California San Francisco Center for Vulnerable Populations.
According to the article, the National Low Income Housing Coalition determined that California has only 22% of affordable and available rental homes extremely low-income households.
Particularly, the city of San Francisco has become so expensive that people making 80% to 120% of the area median income ($82,900 as of April) have become susceptible to rent burden, according to the San Francisco Planning Commission.
The issue has grown so much that California lawmakers are introducing proposals to tackle what many are now calling a housing crisis.
Assemblyman Phil Ting D-San Francisco, chairman of the budget committee proposed spending $1.5 billion of the state's expected $6.1 billion tax revenue windfall in 2018 on matching grants to city and county homelessness programs, according to an article by the Los Angeles Times.
The article also states that separate legislation introduced from state Senator Jim Beall, D-San Jose, aims to spend $2 billion of the funds on low-income housing programs, with half of that amount reserved specifically for homelessness efforts.
In January, mayors from Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco joined mayors from nine other major cities, calling on the federal government to invest more money into affordable housing and homeless services.