Reports this week across the state of California have shown significant bumps to both housing costs and homelessness, with cities such as Oakland and Los Angeles particularly being affected.
According to a report from the California Association of Realtors, the cost of a median price home in California went up 6% since the same time last year. The median price of a home was just over $605,000, which is more than twice the U.S. average. The total supply of available homes in California also shrank in the same period of time.
The Central Valley of California saw the highest increase of prices, with homes in cities such as Fresno, Modesto, and Bakersfield going up 7.8% in a year, settling at an average of $345,000. Los Angeles also showed a large increase, going up 5.6%, with the Inland Empire, which includes cities such as San Bernardino and Riverside, going up 5.8%. Of particular note was San Francisco, which dropped 2% in cost, but still has a median price of $940,000.
While housing costs soar or remain high throughout the state, homelessness has also been climbing. According to USA Today, as of October there are currently an estimated 130,000 homeless people in the state, making it the fourth highest rate in the country, and the highest in total overall. 68% of those homeless also have no shelter.
A silver lining to this is that the overall homeless rate has gone down by 1.2% since last year. But even with the slight drop, individual cities are noticing new serious homeless issues.
In Oakland, despite a statewide drop, the homeless rate has gone up by 47% in the last two years. Los Angeles has seen the number of homeless deaths double in only 5 years.
“Put this all together and you see the housing crisis getting worse,” said Elaina Schroeder, a homeless demographic expert. “We had an unprecedented spate of new housing and homeless legislation like Proposition H, but it’s not yet working. We should have seen improvements by now, especially in temporary shelters, but it’s only been marginal. The band aid is technically working, but things are healing.”
“And it’s only being spread around. Home prices are shooting up in the Central Valley, but a lot of that rise is due to people getting out of San Francisco and other areas for affordable places to live. Notice that it went down in San Francisco? That’s why the rise is higher than expected in Stockton. People are also leaving LA and going to the Inland Empire, and even some to Bakersfield. The homeless are being harassed in other cities in the Bay Area, so they’ve been going to Oakland.”
“We passed a lot for housing, but we need it quickly before people are priced out completely.”
While the housing crisis has gotten slowly worse during the second half of 2019, the increase of housing and homeless measures is expected by experts to help alleviate problems in the near future.
“It will help,” Elaina added. “But the real question is when we’ll start to see that.”