You are on page 1of 7

Nguyen 1

Alex Nguyen
Ali M. Meghdadi
English 39C/ Section 33321
January 23, 2015
Urbanization in Los Angeles and the effect on homeless
Urbanization, the result of the Industrial Revolution, transition America from a place of
agriculture into factory workers. The emergence of many towns and cities grew larger as more
people migrate in hopes of employment opportunities (Alchin). Urbanizing by definition is
supposed to improve opportunities for jobs, education, housing, and transportation. This is not
the case in Los Angeles. Urbanization is not improving living situation in Los Angeles. Now
there are too many people that are homeless in Los Angeles. It is now ranked the most
unaffordable cities in America by both Harvard and UCLA.
There is not enough help towards homeless. One possible explanation is because of a
predisposition towards homeless. People associate homeless with the beliefs of laziness and
hostility. Majority of American would think it is their fault for being poor and because they were
not resilient enough to get out of their own situation, it is their fault. Just because people worked
hard, overcome struggles, and benefit from it does not mean that those who are homeless did not
work hard. It does not mean that they were lazy and did not overcome struggles. There are
people in society that do not realize that these poor people are just like you and everyone else in
the world but just born in different situations or situations happened. If the community is more
aware of the cause of their lack of a job, education, or home, people might be more willing to
lend a hand and help instead of having these preconceived notions of homelessness. Another
presumption people have is that homeless people is something to be weary of and that they

Nguyen 2

should stay away from. Hailey Yook, a student at University of California Berkeley, noticed the
reaction of other students around a homeless person. A homeless person is common around
Berkeley; you would see around five to fifteen homeless men and women with their belongings
while walking to class. Students would walk by homeless people as if they were part of the
background or even move away like they had a horrible disease. Imagine a situation where a
homeless men or women dressed in dirty apparels with their cart of belongings walked down
ring road and sat on the same bench as you. You would probably move away and if you had
friends, they would move too. This is what happened to Yook at UC Berkeley, A woman who
appeared to be homeless sat down on a nearby bench with her cart of belongings. Maybe it was
her dirty appearance or maybe she smelled, but almost every student she sat by got up and
moved to another spot farther away from her, as if she had terribly wronged them in some way
(Yook). People fear homeless off the presumptions that they are beggars, addicts, mentally ill or
violent (Yook). These presumptions are because of an illusion that people with homes are better
than homeless people. By far that notion is because of ignorance and because of that ignorance,
homelessness is harder to overcome.
Although LA is the most urbanized city in America, it has the highest unemployment rate
and poverty rate. It is known as the City in decline (Black). The number of jobs opportunities
has declined since the 1990s. Due to urbanization Los Angeles added a million residents
between 1980 and 2010; however, during that same time, the city lost 165,000 jobs (Black).
With the massive increase of population and the significant decrease in job opportunities, citizens
cannot afford living especially with the high rent cost. Ten percent fewer people are employed in
Los Angeles than two decades ago. 28 percent who are employed work low paying jobs that are
considered under the poverty line. Those that work under the poverty line have multiple jobs and

Nguyen 3

need the support of families to survive (Black). Before urbanization of LA County, what were the
numbers of homeless people and what were the numbers of homeless now? Compare those
numbers of homeless people now with the number of homeless before. If there is a different that
tells us that there is evidence that homelessness correlates with the development of the county.
As the city develops, there is an increase in shortage of decent, safe and sanitary housing
in the City of Los Angeles resulting in a critically low vacancy factor, begins Los Angeles rent
control (LA Rent). Rent control is a law that limits the amount a landlord can raise rent.
Although that sounds beneficial towards the citizens, it does not keep costs rent low. Rent has
raised 25 percent between the year 2000 and 2012 in Los Angeles County (LA Rent). An
inexpensive two-bedroom apartment can cost around $15,000 - $20,000 a year (LA Rent). That is
around $1250 -$1670 a month for an inexpensive apartment. A person living in rent controlled
units pay an average of $1612 a month (LA Rent). Not only that rent control cannot keep rent
low but it also discourages land owners from building more apartments. This is because rent
control is only applied to apartments made before 1978 and that is 80 percent of all apartments.
Landowners do not invest in building more apartments because that might not be a good
investment for them. With the influx of a million people and not enough places to live, there will
be people without homes. As of 2013, 54,000 people are homeless, an increase of fifteen
percent from two years earlier (Holland). Los Angeles funding for housing and services for the
homeless does not change based on the numbers of homeless but based off poverty and housing
Employment rates plummet, resulting in a reduction of staff and as a consequence it
inhibits the function of firefighters and paramedics. Firefighters and paramedics are supposed to
be able to respond to a call within five minutes, 90 percent of the time, according to national

Nguyen 4

standards. However, in Los Angeles, this happens only 5 percent of the time and over the next
decade, the percentage will significantly deteriorate (Black). Imagine you are in an emergency
and you had to wait over five minutes for the firefighter. In the most severe cases, it is literally
like holding your breath the time you are waiting. A fire grows exponentially as it approaches
the critical flashover point. As the response time increase, the probability of intervening before
flashover diminishes. Urbanization is supposed to increase job opportunities but homelessness
is prevalent in LA. They cannot pay for rent or food; they will resort to other methods to provide
for them and or their family. This relates to crime rates and is just a repeating cycle of
hopelessness unless something is going to be done. Rise in inequity as a result crime rates going
up leads to stereotypes towards certain race. This could lead towards more tension among the
races and lead towards discrimination.
It is considered one of the most populated urban areas. Due to the population being so
dense, there are more contagious diseases that the homeless body cannot fight against. Being
homeless, most cannot afford medical care and with the rise in medical care, more people are in
debt and that leads to increase rates of homelessness. Forty percent of families make under
$23,850 a year assuming they have a job.
The public education system in Los Angeles is a disaster. Less than two thirds of all K12 grade students graduate from school. By the time children reach fourth grade, 75 percent of
them are not proficient. According to the National Assessment Test, less than half of high school
graduates in the Los Angeles Unified School District are proficient in English (Black). Not only
is school efficient but also the billions of dollars have been cut from K-12 school systems
budget (Black). The lack of education would increase misbehaviors which could increase in
mischievous actions. Studies shows with an increase in education, people are less likely to be

Nguyen 5

involved in crimes. Those actions could cause trouble for others and themselves. That would
increase in crime rates. The increase in crime rates would affect the atmosphere of certain areas
in the county. Increase in crime rates also means that more people are in jail. People who are in
jails gets abused and harmed. Those actions taken place behinds bars causes mental distress
which does not improve the physical action of said person. After leaving jail, you are not really
out of jail. All of that mental stress gets released somehow and could result in a repeat of
mischiefs. Being in jail could ruin the rest of your life and prevent employment which increases
the rate of homeless. Not only that it will be much harder for you to find a job but it will also be
hard for you to find a place to live. That endless negatively is just going to promote illegal
actions because a person got to do what he has to do in order live and when pushed towards the
edge, actions are done without thinking. An effective public education program also reduces
dispatching times by decreasing the demands placed upon dispatchers through a decreased
number of false calls.
There is not enough opportunity for the lower class people to fight their way out.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of foods for everyone around the world. So much that obesity is
one of the leading diseases in California. If obesity is a problem, then that means we have plenty
of food that could be used to help feed the homeless giving them strength to help themselves
instead of using medical expenses to treat cardiovascular disease resulting from Obesity. Their
body, lack of nourishment becomes weak and more prone to illness. Being more prone to
illnesses will most likely get the homeless sick and they have no way of paying for the
A solution that can reduce amounts of homeless people in LA County would be more
government help and benefits. Voluntary awareness would change the predisposition given by

Nguyen 6

the people towards the homeless. Increase in awareness that poverty can happen to anyone and
that it is not a choice and also it is something that is not easy to get out of despite hard work. If
there were more job opportunities, more people will be employed. That would reduce crime rates
and have the benefit of homeless people buying food. The food provides strength for another day
of work. It is a repeating cycle once it starts. Since LA is one of most dense populated urban
county, the citizen must have more opportunity to be employed. This opportunity could be
through education. If more educated citizen populated LA, then that would also reduce crime and
increase in opportunity. Studies shows that the higher form of education you have, the less likely
you will want to commit a serious crime.

Nguyen 7

Work Cited
Alchin, Linda. "Urbanization in America." For Kids: Causes, Effects and Benefits ***. N.p., n.d.
Web. 15 Jan. 2015.
Black, Gabriel. "World Socialist Web Site." Los Angeles, a City of Poverty and Unemployment -.
N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2015.
Holland, Gale. "L.A. County's Homeless Population Difficult to Quantify." Los Angeles Times. Los
Angeles Times, 4 July 2014. Web. 21 Jan. 2015.

"LA Rent: Has Rent Control Been Successful in Los Angeles?" Southern California Public
Radio. N.p., 12 Sept. 2014. Web. 18 Jan. 2015
Welsh, Ben. "L.A. Fire Department Response times Slow, Data Show." Los Angeles Times. Los
Angeles Times, 23 Oct. 2014. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.
Yook, Hailey. "Attitudes toward the Homeless Affect Us All |" The Daily Californian. N.p.,
03 Mar. 2014. Web. 21 Jan. 2015.