Large warehouses, some covering more than 20 acres, are being developed in existing neighborhoods, sometimes just across the street from people’s homes. The impacts of cargo handling spillover onto resident who live in close proximity to large warehouses and the diesel trucks that come and go create emissions, noise, congestion and traffic risks.
Even though we want to see the tragedy of homelessness shrinking in our rear-view mirror, what we need most is an acurate picture of reality. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s annual count of homeless residents is supposed to tell us whether the problem is getting bigger or smaller, but the results are not as reliable as they should be.
“What happens when you’re working but still can’t afford a place to live?” David Brancaccio asked this question on Marketplace Morning Report in his investigation of “the prevalence of homelessness among fast-food workers in California.” He asked, “when the report [Hungry Cooks] came out, there was pushback by the fast-food industry.
A restaurant industry group ran a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times to dispel public dismay about homeless fast food workers. This follows the LA Times article, “Low wages, short hours drive many fast-food workers into homelessness,” that covered our report, Hungry Cooks. Working conditions in the fast food industry are not a zero sum game where either franchise owners go out of business or fast food workers become homeless.
Human dignity and public costs are protected by helping vulnerable workers before the onset of chronic homelessness. The longer people are homeless, the worse their problems become, making it more difficult and expensive to stably house them. Predictive analytic screening tools can identify high -risk workers who are likely to become persistently homeless before preventable personal harm and public costs accumulate, and before the crisis of being homeless has diminished their capacity to work and their identity as a member of society.
The success of U.S. programs during the Pandemic recession in preventing homelessness is eye opening. The biggest lesson is that instead of looking just at people who are homeless now, we need to act early to prevent the disaster coming down the tracks – precariously housed workers losing jobs and falling into destitution.
A photo-journalist named David Bacon asked a key question for his article in Capital & Main, “Should L.A. and Long Beach Get a New Deal From Their Powerhouse Ports?” The question was, What are the costs of running the ports that the shippers are not paying for, and that the public does?
Terminal companies in the San Pedro Bay that are under the control of three international shipping alliances control 81 percent of the containers transported through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in 2021. Three-quarters of the containers leaving the ports are empty, holding nothing from California except air.
Workers’ motivation to support themselves through work and to obtain shelter with the income they earn is valuable both for them and for society. Work provides dignity and prevents the social costs that accompany destitution. The solution of employment costs less than the problem of homelessness.
The outgoing president tweeted, “We believe these people are thieves. The big city machines are corrupt. This was a stolen election. When you see what happened in Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia & Milwaukee – massive voter fraud.” This line of sight sees some votes being legitimately cast by patriots but other votes illegitimately cast by people who shouldn’t be counted.
George Floyd’s asphyxiation by a police officer shines a light on racial injustice. Reform has to begin, but not stop, with policing. We also need fundamental economic and government reforms to guarantee civil rights and economic equality and end structural racism. Despite protests throughout the nation demanding justice and equality, the stock market has gone up since the protests began, apparently discounting the possibility of structural change in the economy or the distribution of wealth.
Predictive tools can reveal the humanity of people living in shelters and on sidewalks, showing the risks they face so that we can intervene early to help those who are likely to stay homeless. Only 38 percent of people who become homeless remain homeless for more than a year.
There is a solution to every individual’s problems but there are no mass solutions. A large population experiences homelessness over the course of a year, but roughly two-thirds of these individuals escape homelessness in less than a year. Differing durations of homelessness point to differing types and difficulty of barriers to becoming stably housed.
The third annual minimum wage increase kicked in on July 1, bumping up the minimum wage for 762,000 Los Angeles workers with jobs in communities that have enacted minimum wage ordinances. If their employer has 26 or more employees, workers’ minimum wage increased to $13.25. This includes 71 percent of all workers benefiting or a total of 543,000 workers.
On April 13th, I attended the Women in Analytics Conference at Facebook HQ. I was one of about 300 women invited to attend. Attendees spanned a diverse range of practice areas including non-profits, tech, education and government. The morning program consisted of leading women in analytics describing their educational backgrounds and interests, and how they contribute in their current roles.
Chronic homelessness is a catastrophe and the result of multiple failures, both before and after the onset of homelessness. Homelessness results from system-wide breakdowns and requires system-wide engagement. Homeless service providers can’t solve this problem by themselves. System-based predictive analytic tools can guide system-wide interventions to stop the cascade of failures.
The second annual minimum wage increase kicked in on July 1, bringing the minimum wage for Los Angeles workers up to $12 an hour. The increase helps 482,000 workers who got lifted to $10.50 when the first increase went into effect July 1, 2016, and another 84,000 workers who were earning between $10.51 and $11.99.
Yesterday, at Clockshop’s counter-inaugural workshop, I joined Rudy Espinoza from LURN in talking about income inequality in Los Angeles and strategies to close the income gap. The story I told began with the end of the cold war and the collapse of LA’s aerospace industry in 1989.
Thoughtful and timely insights from the Roundtable’s 25th anniversary symposium about how we move forward through troubled times are now available online. We need more services that are better targeted to fit individual needs to make headway on reducing homelessness, which is why Measure H is needed.
Reflections From Economic Roundtable’s 25th Anniversary Symposium By: Economic Roundtable Staff Since the November 2016 election, pundits, activists, and others have wondered: What just happened and what’s the most effective thing we can do? Some of us may have lost sleep or gotten angry. Others have felt despair over living in such a divided nation.