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California’s Fight for Homelessness

California’s Fight for Homelessness

Today, homelessness remains a major problem in every city, state, and country. There is almost a guarantee that you will encounter homeless citizens on your daily walks or commutes. Today, California is known to have an intense problem with the homeless and the lack of affordable housing. Among the many cities in the state of California: San Francisco (Bay Area), Los Angeles, San Joses are some that have a significant problem with homelessness. To get a bigger picture of why this is a problem, homelessness in California increased by approximately 22% in California over the last decade. Furthermore, more than half of the people are unsheltered homelessness. As of January 2019, approximately 27% of the population experience homelessness. However, we need to first understand that the term “homelessness” can be very vague. Homelessness is defined as living in housing conditions that are under the minimum standard conditions. Therefore, it does not necessarily mean 27% of the population are unsheltered or live on the streets. 

First of all, why is it a problem in the state of California? Although each individual may have a specific personal story and reason for their lack of favorable housing, there is another problem in California that may suggest the cause of homelessness which is the lack of affordable housing. As Californians continue to experience high costs of living and rent in certain metropolitan areas, financial stability and unemployment can contribute to the rise of homelessness. 

For the homeless, being in an unsanitary or unsheltered living condition can bring increased physical and psychological risk. According to the Policy Lab at UCLA, there is a mental health concern for 78% of the unsheltered homeless population. This means that there is an increased likelihood of mental health risks for homeless citizens just in the city of Los Angeles.

 Since it is established that homelessness is a significant problem in the state of California, what efforts are being made to combat this issue? As of January 2020, California governor Gavin Newsom proposed a 1.4 billion dollars budget to end homelessness. With the budget, this can provide for emergency shelters and permanent supportive housing. As this is one of the many efforts of the California governments to ease the issue of homelessness, it is uncertain that these efforts will last long-term. As the required budget is such a huge amount, it will require continuous efforts from the government and citizens. 

Sources:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-state-is-home-to-nearly-half-of-all-people-living-on-the -streets-in-the-us-2019-09-18#:~:text=At%20the%20city%20level%2C%20four,Santa%20Rosa %20and%20San%20Jose

https://socialinnovation.usc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Homelessness-in-CA-Fact-Sheet-v 3.pdf
https://calmatters.org/explainers/californias-homelessness-crisis-explained/

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