As of July 16, COVID-19 cases have risen to 143,000 in Los Angeles County. The City of Los Angeles remains under the Safer at Home order, but the negative effects of protecting the majority of the city’s working population are being felt. Around 20.8% of the population in Los Angeles are battling unemployment, and with the loss of income, many households could face the threat of being evicted (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s (LAHSA) Homeless Count, an estimated 66,440 people are currently homeless in LA County. This represents a 13% increase from last year, with homeless family members seeing the highest increase from 8,799 to 12,817. While these numbers are staggeringly high, they do not take into account the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the effects of the pandemic is income loss which has left many household unable to pay their rents. The Gonzalez family is a typical example of a household facing the possibility of eviction. Every bread-winner in the Gonzalez family lost their jobs, Ms. Gonzalez, her partner, brother and father, due to COVID-19. They have been surviving on donated food while pleading to their landlord to give them an extension on paying rent. She explained to the New York Times that every day, she fears waking up to their landlord evicting them. Unfortunately, this is the harsh reality of many families.
During these difficult times, we need to come together and help those in need by standing with them and taking action. By informing yourself and others on these dire circumstances, our community can make a change in Los Angeles’ homeless population.