From the early outbreaks to the economic destruction that has come after, the coronavirus pandemic has mapped itself onto America’s longstanding affordable housing problem and the gaping inequality that underlies it. To offset rising rents in a nation where one in four tenant households spend more than half of their pretax income on shelter, a multitude of low-wage service workers have piled into ever more crowded homes
San Francisco, there is a rough economic split. Cities and neighborhoods to the east, places like East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks and the Belle Haven section of Menlo Park, are more overcrowded and have a larger share of low-income and Black and Latino residents, many of whom have been disproportionately affected by the virus. Towns and neighborhoods to the west, places like Hillsborough and Palo Alto, are whiter and rich.
This geography is as fundamental to how the place operates as the invention of the microchip. Every day, throngs of clerks, landscapers and elder-care workers wake up on the eastern parts and travel to homes on the western parts or to the corporate campuses of tech companies to do subcontracting work. And every night, they return to overcrowded homes.
12 People in a 3-Bedroom House, Then the Virus Entered the Equation
Overcrowding, not density, has defined many coronavirus hot spots. Service workers’ quarters skirting Silicon Valley are no exception.
In L. A. Unified, over 80% of our students live in poverty. We serve three meals a day and provide health care in our clinics and wellness centers. We offer a safe and welcoming space for nearly 20,000 students experiencing homelessness.
In California, more than 100,000 people sleep on the streets. The tent cities in Los Angeles’s skid row have distinct neighborhoods, and across from a homelessness center, the bodies on the sidewalk are four rows deep. Trailers line the streets near Google’s Mountain View headquarters, and in Modesto, a woman sleeping in a cardboard box was crushed to death by a front loader that came to clear her encampment away.
Francesca Mari, NY Times
Fighting for Housing in America
By Conor Dougherty
Mr. Newsom campaigned on a promise to usher in reforms that would lead to the construction of 3.5 million housing units by 2025. That output would be more than quadruple the current rate, and the governor has started referring to it as a “stretch goal.”
California is not only well behind that pace, but the number of housing permits has actually turned downward — hovering around 100,000 units in 2019 — despite a strong economy and a median home value, $556,000, that is more than twice the national figure.
It is hard to overstate the threat posed to the state’s economy and prosperity. Housing costs are the primary reason that California’s poverty rate, 18.2 percent, is the highest of any state when adjusted for its cost of living, despite a thriving economy that has led to strong income growth and record-low unemployment.
California, Mired in a Housing Crisis, Rejects an Effort to Ease It
A lawmaker’s push for denser development near transit, overriding local zoning, was thwarted by a diverse group of legislative foes.
Conor Dougherty, NYTIMES
California, the country’s wealthiest and most populous state, also has the most homeless, an unremitting crisis that has confounded the state’s political leaders for decades and exposed one of the most extreme manifestations of economic inequality gripping the country.
Tent encampments — Oakland city officials count 90 of them — are now as much a part of the landscape as the bars and restaurants that cater to the city’s rising affluence. Many Americans are one medical emergency, one layoff, one family disaster away from bankruptcy or losing the roofs over their heads.
I was driving around Downtown Denver earlier today and drove past three people sleeping on the street, a few blocks from the ballpark. They didn’t have much baggage – no tents or sleeping bags, and one of them was in a large electric wheelchair. You see a lot of homeless people in Denver so I might not have registered these three, but that I had read this article earlier in the day, and I can’t see how someone survives being homeless in an electric wheelchair.
From Los Feliz to Long Beach, the 1997 classic exposes rot beneath the glamour of Los Angeles
“I remember the first time I got off the plane in LA. I came up to Hollywood, on La Brea or La Cienega, I can’t remember, through the oil fields,” says L.A. Confidential production designer Jeannine Oppewall. “And I thought to myself: ‘What the hell kind of city is this, with oil fields in the middle of it?’”
For Oppewall, who spoke to Curbed LA on the eve of the 1997 neo-noir’s 20th anniversary, the illusory romance of the City of Angels was stripped away in an instant. That’s what the movie does too, puncturing our inflated ideas of Old Hollywood glamour by plumbing the psychological depths of its key characters and (sometimes literally) exposing the rot underneath.
By Chris Eggertsen, la.curbed.com