Homelessness crisis initiatives that emerged at the height of the crisis Pandemic have lost their spark – many Californians are returning to the streets with no prospects.
From 2019 to 2022, the homeless population grew by 7% and in 2022 consists of nearly 117,000 Californians. In March 2020, programs such as project room key secured 16,000 motel and hotel rooms for 55,000 homeless Californians during the pandemic, according to CalMatters.
In addition to the Roomkey project, the government responded to the growing homeless population with:
- rental assistance;
- eviction moratoria; and
- Stimulus Checks.
However, as the pandemic effect wears off, these initiatives are losing momentum.
As of July 2022, the era of eviction moratoriums will end, rental subsidies will end and stimulus checks ended long ago in 2021. The impact on the number of homeless Californians was extreme.
The Roomkey project has enabled 12,000 people to move from homeless to permanent housing, according to CalMatters. However, Project Roomkey has reduced its program from 16,000 available rooms in 2020 to 5,000 rooms in 2022 — a big cut for such a promising response to the glut of homeless people at the height of the pandemic.
Of the 55,000 Project Roomkey participants, 34,000 Californians found refuge in:
- gather shelters;
- temporary accommodation;
- institutions; or
- unknown targets, according to CalMatters.
With just under 10,000 Roomkey subscribers without homes, it’s another failure for real estate professionals to attract more clients as these individuals can’t afford homes. The increased number of homeless Californians means a reduced quality of life for Everyone California residents – an ongoing outcome of the homelessness crisis.
California Comeback Plan to Address Homeless Crisis
New initiatives for the homeless
Though pandemic initiatives like Project Roomkey have taken a step back, other initiatives have blossomed.
One of the initiatives is Project Home Key (different letter, same idea), a nationwide conversion project to provide permanent or temporary accommodation for the homeless. The Homekey project allows developers to convert different housing types into housing for people affected by homelessness, such as:
- hotels and motels;
- Single-family houses and apartment buildings;
- manufactured housing; and
- commercial real estate.
In addition, Assembly Bill (AB) 2483, a new California law, will require it Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) To provide incentives for developments funded under the Multifamily Housing Scheme to include units for people affected by homelessness.
Regardless of how much financial support these projects receive from the government, however, the amount matters low income Housing available for extreme low income workforce. A larger stock of high-quality, low-income housing will lead to more developments capable of organically meeting the demand of all residents. Where there is a need – such as in residential construction – builders have to find ways to meet it. Otherwise, housing costs will rise beyond the financial means of low-income earners. The result is the ongoing homelessness crisis.
But more living space makes it possible
Progress is all too often thwarted by song Not in my backyard (NIMBY) Advocates who believe low-income housing is just another inconvenience middle and high income communities.
For NIMBYs, low-income housing is ruining communities and neighborhoods — eventually leading to middle-income families being “forced” to move out. NIMBYs usually slow down new housing construction and indirectly contribute to solving the homeless crisis.
However, to make progress on affordable housing, NIMBYs, local officials and real estate professionals – Yes, you– need to come together to nail this homelessness crisis.
Real estate professionals can do their part to ensure home values do not deteriorate when low-income housing is introduced by being involved and participating in the planning process local council meetings.
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The impact of low-income housing on nearby home values