LOS ANGELES (CN) – As the price of housing in California spirals out of reach, more than half of Los Angeles County residents fear being priced out of living in the region, and younger residents are even more apprehensive.
Fifty-five percent of LA County residents said they, a close friend or family member have considered moving from their neighborhood in the last few years due to rising housing costs, according to the 2018 Quality of Life Index.
Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles and health accessibility advocates The California Endowment, which partnered on the project, said the response represents an 8 percent increase from the 2017 Index.
The fears are more palpable among younger respondents. Sixty-eight percent of 18 to 29-year-olds, 73 percent of 30 to 39-year-olds, and 65 percent of 40 to 49-year-olds say that they or someone close to them has considered moving out of their neighborhoods due to housing costs.
“Historically, young people, especially in Los Angeles, could look forward to a great future, but today they have the highest level of negativity and anxiety, especially between the ages of 18-29,” said UCLA’s Zev Yaroslavsky. “This should be a matter of concern to all of us.”
Despite a robust state economy, about 20 percent of Californians are living near the poverty line, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Many are unable to access affordable housing in a state where the housing shortage stands at nearly 4 million.
In a response which mirrors that of residents in nearby Orange County, LA County residents said they’re afraid the housing shortage and rising costs of living will push them out of their communities, yet they oppose many housing development projects which could fill the housing shortage.
Fourty-four percent of residents said housing developments have a positive impact on their area and 52 percent said they have a negative impact, such as displacing low-income residents or removing affordable housing stock.
Sixty-eight percent of county residents said new apartment buildings should only be built in neighborhoods already zoned for multi-family housing, and only 30 percent believe they should be built everywhere, including in single-family neighborhoods, according to the report.
Twenty-seven percent of county residents have worried about becoming homeless, an increase of 4 percent over last year, according to researchers.
Among residents with an annual household income of less than $30,000, that number jumps to 47 percent; among residents 18-29 years of age, that number jumps to 38 percent; and among renters the number jumps to 41 percent.
Los Angeles has passed measures in recent weeks aimed at providing immediate housing for homeless residents. Council members approved an ordinance that will open a path to converting under-utilized motels and hotels across the city into temporary housing sites where homeless people can access social services.
1,500 county residents were interviewed between March 3-20. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish.
A California lawmaker on Tuesday agreed to modify his proposed legislation on housing development near transit hubs in cities across the state. State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, said he will change language in SB 827 to lower height allowances for new condos and apartments near transit hubs from eight stories to five.
Wiener said he would give cities time to adapt to new changes by delaying implementation of his proposed housing bill by two years.
The Los Angeles City Council and San Francisco Board of Supervisors both voted to oppose the bill.
Supporters say the bill would allow cities to build much needed affordable housing, increase density and offer residents access to access public transit options.
Critics of the bill say it will fuel gentrification in low-income communities, alter the character of local community architecture and remove local control on housing developments.
The Crenshaw Subway Coalition called the bill a “declaration of war on South LA” which it describes as one of the “communities most vulnerable to gentrification” in Los Angeles.
CSC and other affordable housing advocates are backing AB 1506, a bill that would repeal the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which limits the ability of cities to implement rent control.
Seventy-one percent of Los Angeles county residents who responded to the 2018 Quality of Life Index said they favor rent stabilization legislation that would cap annual rent increases on all rental housing, including 78 percent of renters and 65 percent of homeowners.
A hearing on SB 827 is scheduled for April 17 in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.