High land costs, a shortage of homes, and income inequality leads to a cost-burdened population: Nationally, 49% of households that earn under $50,000 per year pay more than 30% of their income on housing, but in California it’s over 65%, and in the Los Angeles metro area it’s nearly 70%. Californians cope with this housing burden by crowding into cramped housing units, exiling to exurban or out-of-state markets with lower costs but increased climate impacts, and surfing between less secure housing opportunities with friends or relatives. Those with the least support end up without housing altogether, either in vehicles, in shelters, or on the street.
California’s housing crisis is particularly acute in coastal job centers and near public transportation infrastructure. Recently UCLA ITS assembled an expert panel of transportation leaders from throughout California to discuss the state’s transportation problems and policy options. Even with shifting investments to build a robust and reliable multimodal network, using pricing to manage automobiles, and making the system a safer place for all users, panelists saw increasing inequality, economic strain, and automobile dependence if these were pursued without making progress on the state’s housing crisis.