Most Angelenos today can see that we’re at an historic juncture with the city, as housing is at the forefront of social issues facing Los Angeles and the whole state of California. I can appreciate my personal position within the dynamic: I’m 27 years old and still living at home with my mom, where the two of us halve the rent in a rent-controlled unit within an area that’s only recently been dubbed as “East Hollywood.”
The situation is precarious; like millions of Angelenos, my mother immigrated to the United States from south of the border in the 1980s with virtually no wealth in assets, and although in a few years she’ll be able to claim social security benefits and plans to apply for housing assistance based on her income, she also understands that there is virtually no guarantee she’ll be able to secure anything.
She is one of millions of Angelenas on the state’s MediCal system whose future is not exactly accounted for, and I’m one of a generation of millennials whose opportunity to build a home as it’s traditionally thought of is at an historic low. The question is obvious, then: where are people like my mother and I going, exactly? And in the case of a disaster, how could people in such circumstances possibly survive?
At the same time, during the past year the state’s wildfires and subsequent mudslide tragedies showed any Californians reading their papers how the fiscal and logistical burdens placed on the state by more extreme weather patterns are only growing dramatically in cost, size, and frequency alike. The events also revealed how regardless of where people fall on the income ladder, the state is largely under-prepared to help.
So then, where are all of us Californians going? One way or another, we’ve got to find out. Then we’ve got to share that information, and move on it, Los Angeles.