Greenlee Housing/Homelessness Q1
Housing affordability and homelessness are inexorably linked, which is why a key policy priority for the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing (SCANPH) is to dedicate resources to understanding and addressing emerging data about the fastest-growing segment of newly homeless persons in our region: low-income people who make less than 30 percent of area median income (AMI). This demographic is the fastest growing segment of economically vulnerable people, and therefore they are at the greatest risk of falling into homelessness because neither the free market nor subsidized housing is sufficiently addressing the housing needs of this population—a population comprised of working families who are spending nearly 80-90 percent of their incomes on housing in our region. Simply, put, they are the working poor who simply don’t make enough money to overcome an economically devastating occurrence, such as a missed paycheck or health ailment. This is evident in the latest point in time count for LA County, as 53% of people experiencing first-time homelessness cited economic hardship as the primary reason and 63% of unsheltered adults are on their first episode of homelessness.
Therefore, if we are to prevent more economically vulnerable people from falling into homelessness, then increases in the production and preservation of supportive and affordable housing are a proven solution.It’s clear that we must develop and support policies that create affordable homes for this fast-growing segment of homeless households who are non-special needs, extremely low income. SCANPH has long recognized that inclusive communities with access to opportunity for all people are contingent upon long term housing investments that truly address the systemic vulnerability of low-income households because achieving progress on homelessness means fixing the root of a problem rather than merely symptoms.