Only Lucky People Can Get a Home in LA
Only Lucky People Can Get a Home in LA
If you live in a rural area or a normal-sized metro area and you think the housing crisis is bad where you're at, then consider yourself lucky that you don't live in LA, where the housing crisis is just ridiculous at this point. Speaking of "lucky," however, that's basically what you have to be in LA County if you cannot afford to live. As of this week, Los Angeles has started a Section 8 lottery draw. They have so many people who cannot afford to live in the county that they are inundated with Section 8 requests and simply have no idea how to handle it beyond instituting a lottery to ensure that everything is fair, in terms of the way that housing is given out. One thing that is a bit lucky for Angelenos, for lack of a better term, is that this lottery does include apartments, not just houses. This means that the pool of living abodes is exponentially larger than just houses.
To give you an idea of what counts as abject poverty in LA: If a family of four has a total income less than $59,550, that counts as too poor to afford to live in the area. In all the rest of the nation, that would make someone middle class, barring New York, Chicago and other huge cities. The cost of living is so incredibly high in LA that people who are gainfully employed with a full-time job cannot afford to pay the rent. For a lot of people, the only solution seems to be to flee the area, but the people who aren't leaving are stuck there due to their careers, according to polling data. Otherwise, they would have abandoned the area long ago. Then you have the people who are there just to take advantage of free housing.
This lottery is opened up to legal citizens and undocumented immigrants. Since California is a sanctuary state, people who legally live in LA will have to compete for their chances in a lottery with many thousands of people who just showed up out of the blue. This is something that many in LA have called unfair. In fact, they have screamed it from rooftops and protested about it in the streets, to no effect whatsoever. The very limited number of Section 8 properties are equally available to undocumented immigrants. The kicker: Undocumented immigrants will more than likely take up the bulk of the homes, since there will be a lot more of them entering the lottery. The vast majority cannot show an income of over $60k, and so they'll enter the lotto drawing for free housing.
This has led to a sense of hopelessness among the poor throughout the county, especially when they see that thousands of more people are living on the streets every single month.
The Houses are Available
The most ridiculous aspect of Section 8 and HUD in general is that this is the federal government behind it all. It's not just some small city board that's attempting to control things. Section 8 comes directly from the federal government. Many have been pointing out for years that the government should just claim eminent domain on houses for the poor. After all, the government does that if they want to build a bridge, or if a corporation wants to build a strip mall. If a new fast food restaurant wants to move in, the government would be quick to seize someone's home just to make a parking lot. Though when dealing with tens of thousands of people who cannot afford to live, the government doesn't seem keen on seizing anyone's properties to give to the people. Multinational corporations have been buying up properties for years, and then just leaving them abandoned until which point they can turn the largest profit. The government wouldn't dream about claiming eminent domain on those, however, despite a public emergency. That might mean they would receive no more campaign donations or kickbacks.
There is more than enough land and more than enough housing to ensure that no one has to be homeless. Sure, there will always be people who are homeless by choice. There are a lot of drug addicts and mentally ill people who take to the streets because that's where they function. Though for people who want housing but can't get it, that's a dirty stain upon a first-world, rich nation. As it stands, however, poor people in LA have to enter a lottery and hope they're lucky enough to find shelter.