Local rental market tearing up homelessness solutions

The side effects of rent control, rising inflation, high demand and low supply have created a housing storm in a county where the median per capita income before the 2019 pandemic was $21,380, or just 58% of the state median, according to the US Census Bureau. Two years later, there is a demand for higher wages, but a inability for local businesses to pay them due to rising cost of goods.

Homeless community hurt

Rapidly changing housing economics have also had a negative effect on progress on homelessness, particularly on the effectiveness of recent legislation.

President Joe Biden’s first major law into effect, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, created an Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) program to help homeless individuals and families , at risk of becoming homeless, fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, harassment or human trafficking, or have recently been homeless or at high risk of housing instability.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provided 70,000 of these vouchers to public housing authorities, 117 of which were awarded to the Tulare County Housing Authority. For context, the Kings Tulare Homeless Alliances 2020 Point in Time report states that 992 people were homeless in Tulare County at that time. HUD granted the nonprofit working directly with the Tulare County Housing Authority to use housing vouchers an exemption for completing its 2021 report due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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