COVID- 19 and California’s Housing Crisis

In California, the ongoing housing crisis has made it hard for local and regional governmental authorities to combat and counter the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Crowded and substandard housing make individuals more susceptible to the spread of Covid-19 which is an airborne illness. The shortage of housing, strict zoning laws, high poverty have led to an increase in homelessness with people out on the streets or living in their cars and an increase in Covid-19 infections.  Shelters are often overcrowded and less able to enforce social distancing.

In the city of Oakland California they have gotten roughly 1000 unsheltered (homeless) people off the streets and state supported hotel rooms or trailers. Oakland Mayor Schaff has extended the eviction moratorium to non-commercial renters as long as the city has declared locally a state of emergency.  The eviction moratorium does not address the underlying problem: the lack of available housing is the direct result of income and wealth. To better combat the lack of housing California must first address the income inequality in the state.

The pandemic in California started in more afluent communities but it is now making its way into California’s most vulnerable and less affluent communities such as essential workers, immigrants and the homeless population.

Through June 30, 2020 California affordable housing total $170 million, accounting for 12,300 new and renovated units.While California has found housing for 15000 homeless individuals, the homeless total in the state is 100,000. Yet, local leaders indicate that the crisis has not abated; this economic crisis, and health crisis increasing homelessness. The combination of high housing costs and low incomes increases the likelihood of homelessness

The video can be found here.

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