In Los Angeles County, the annual population increases have brought with it a sharp rise in Latino homelessness. L.A. County’s 1950 population was 4.1 million people. Today, L.A. County, the nation’s largest, has according to the latest Census Bureau data, 10 million residents with 4.8 million listed as Hispanic.
County data showed that overall homelessness increased 23 percent since last year with Hispanics registering the sharpest rise, 63 percent. Increases in homelessness persist despite county leaders’ efforts to control the problem. Officials blame affordable housing shortages and a stagnant wages for low-skilled workers as the reason people have taken to the streets. Dr. Housing Bubble, who blogs about California real estate found a 378 square foot house in crime-infested Compton where murders have tripled in the last year listed at $179,000.
But no one in authority has suggested that less immigration and the subsequent fewer people would put downward pressure on housing costs, alleviate homelessness, and in general make life more livable for the less fortunate.
Instead, County Supervisor Hilda Solis, whose district suffered an 84 percent homelessness increase, talked in circles. Solis, a former U.S. Representative and Labor Department Secretary, said: “I would say it’s a whole new phenomenon. We have to put it on the radar and really think outside the box when we consider how to help this population.” While in Congress, Solis earned a F- immigration grade.
But homelessness has been, to quote Solis, “on the radar” for years, and has worsened—too many people. In California, thinking “outside the box” should mean promoting more sustainable immigration levels. As long as immigration brings more people to Los Angeles County, homelessness will continue.