Homelessness Shrinks Slightly in Los Angeles

This chart appeared on the front page of the LA Times this morning:

This data makes no sense. During the worst recession since World War II, the number of homeless people didn’t increase at all. Then, as the economy got into high gear, the number of homeless suddenly spiked. Why? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Is it because housing prices stayed flat during the recession and then started rising? Maybe:

This doesn’t quite fit the homeless data, but it’s close. And the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority suggests it’s the problem: “Since 2000, median rent in Los Angeles County has increased 32% while median renter household income has decreased 3%.” I guess I can buy this, though it sure seems as if a greater likelihood of having a job would outweigh higher home prices, causing the number of homeless to go down during good economic times. Very strange.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend