Kevin Recinos works full-time helping the homeless in Los Angeles as a Life Skills Coordinator, but when his rent increased by $200 per month, he himself became homeless. Now, he’s one of the estimated 9,000 newlyin Los Angeles living out of their car.
As he demonstrated how he gets his car ready for the night, Recinos lamented, “I realize this is the first time I’ve ever walked anyone through this. It’s kind of really vulnerable. It’s like I’m showing you my bedroom, and it sucks.” He says he’s trying to find new housing, but in Los Angeles, an affordable place to live is getting increasingly hard to find.
After the financial crash in 2008, housing prices dropped in Los Angeles, as they did nationwide, and deep-pocketed investment firms started buying up the undervalued properties. The city has few protections in place for tenants and gives landlords wide latitude with regard to what they can do with their properties. In recent years, as the economy improved, corporate owners of rental properties have used the law to their advantage to vacate newly purchased buildings, renovate units, and drive up rental prices.