Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, unaffordable housing costs represented one of California’s most pressing challenges – and the job losses triggered by stay-home orders necessary to address the public health emergency threaten to exacerbate this long-standing crisis. Housing affordability is a problem throughout the state when housing costs are compared to incomes, and the Californians who are most affected by the affordability crisis are renters, households with the lowest incomes, people of color, and immigrants. Many of these same Californians are also especially hard hit by the economic effects of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Millions of Californians who are out of work are at risk of losing a key support that has helped cover the rent — enhanced unemployment insurance benefits. Research Associate, Aureo Mesquita, and Senior Policy Analyst, Sara Kimberlin discuss key findings from their new report Staying Home During California’s Affordability Crisis and explain how the COVID-19 recession is exacerbating the housing affordability crisis across California.
The 2020-21 California state budget put forward by state leaders recognizes the challenges the state faces and meets state leaders’ Constitutional obligation to enact a balanced budget, the spending plan fails to meet many of the most urgent and basic needs of Californians: ensuring they can safely earn a living in healthy environments and provide food, housing, and health care for their families. Without bolder action, including raising additional revenues and pursuing appropriate borrowing, the enacted 2020-21 budget will exacerbate income and wealth inequality and systemic inequities that permanently leave Californians of color, undocumented residents, and households with low incomes locked out of our state’s prosperity.
Who is hit hardest by California’s job losses that are far worse than the Great Recession? Women and people of color. In only two months – between February and April of this year – California lost 2.6 million jobs. That’s twice as many jobs as California lost during the Great Recession over almost three years. Senior Policy Analyst Alissa Anderson shares more about what the job losses mean for Californians and what policymakers can do to extend support needed now.
Recent acts of police brutality against Black Americans and greater public outcry over the continued abuse and deaths of people across Black communities have amplified calls for defunding, abolishing, and reimagining local policing. This also comes with growing understanding that police violence has disproportionately fatal consequences for Black men and women, and Black transgender women in particular.The calls to action involve significantly transforming the mission and structure of local law enforcement, divesting from local law enforcement in its current forms, and reinvesting the freed-up funding into community-building capacities that would also seek to end racial profiling and police brutality against Black people and other people of color.