Hilmar Rosenast: Little hope in SCV homelessness picture

SCV Voices: Guest Commentary
SCV Voices: Guest Commentary

Regarding the “Homelessness in SCV can be 1 paycheck away” story published Saturday, What is new? It has been this way for years and I wished it was only a paycheck.

I appreciate everything done by Bridge to Home, Family Promise and some churches. I also applaud those individuals who have gone out of their way to help some of the homeless.
We now have Measure H. Let’s see what it will do for Santa Clarita. However, there are other issues that the city has to consider.

There are many reasons why so many families (mostly single women with children) are monthly on the threshold of eviction.

The Signal just recently had two headliners about the large rent increases in the valley. Median rates of single-room apartments are over $1,900, and two-bedroom units $2,400. Work that out with a minimum hourly rate of $10.50 an hour ($21,840 gross, working full-time 52 weeks)!

Obviously, not everybody is paying $2,400 for a two-bedroom unit. There are still many that go for $1,400 to $1,600 per month. Nevertheless, even at those rates, the rent represents 80 percent of the gross income of a single-family bread winner.

On July 1 the minimum hourly wage in the county of Los Angeles went to $12 per hour. However, the city of Santa Clarita opted to not follow suit, and the rate remains at $10.50 hourly inside city limits.

Yet rents increased and caused major strains on families already struggling to pay the rent on a timely basis. Some rent out rooms and couches for whatever they can get. The demand is high and rooms go now for more than $600 to $850 each with rather unhealthy overcrowding.

There is a great vacuum in Santa Clarita when it comes to the prevention of homelessness. There are few resources simply because it is financially intensive and has to be done one at a time.

I think the city should act responsibly and at least follow the county minimum wage guidelines. While it would be a drop in the bucket for the renters who are suffering monthly the anxiety of how to pay the rent, it would at least show some compassion and concern for them.

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