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The shortage of affordable housing in Southern California, coupled with the increases in people experiencing homelessness, has highlighted the urgent need for innovative policy solutions to address the dual crises facing Los Angeles.
Despite numerous initiatives and resources, the number of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles has continued to increase. Steadily rising home prices, legal challenges to planned housing developments, and lack of coordination among service entities have all contributed to this lack of progress. Furthermore, front line workers and the individuals experiencing homelessness, who have the experiences and knowledge necessary to drive change, often lack a voice in formulating policy. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated existing challenges, with rising unemployment and the potential for an unprecedented wave of evictions. It also presents potential for new policies and solutions, such as incentives to foster conversion of underutilized commercial and retail space to much-needed residential use.
The Center for Housing and Homelessness in Los Angeles, launched as part of RAND’s Tomorrow Demands Today fundraising campaign, was developed to address both the demand and supply sides of the housing and homelessness crisis in Los Angeles. The center brings together interdisciplinary expertise, rigorous data collection, and analytic methods to address the challenges of providing affordable housing solutions in one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation and to better understand and serve the needs of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.
A project labor agreement requiring that a primarily union workforce be used for housing projects for people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles appears to be one reason that the city's $1.2 billion Proposition HHH ballot initiative is falling short of its goal.
The center’s research focus areas include
- working to align incentives among stakeholders, including people experiencing homelessness, community members, service providers, housing developers, and policymakers
- exploring broad questions concerning the supply and demand for housing and services, including the disproportionate impacts on communities of color and the needs of subpopulations such as veterans
- addressing the effects of COVID-19, including policies to reduce the flow of individuals into homelessness and exploring opportunities such as the adaptive reuse of underutilized commercial real estate for housing.