A man walks along the road next to a cluster of tents at a homeless encampment.

Vestal on Need to Empower the Unhoused

Assistant Professor of Urban Planning Mark Vestal spoke to the Los Angeles Times about ways to prevent homelessness in Los Angeles instead of simply reacting to it. According to Vestal, one of the core problems in addressing the issue of homelessness is lack of political power among unhoused individuals. The House California Challenge Program, or AB 2817, aims to provide $5 billion over five years in rental subsidies for people who are homeless or on the brink of it, many of them families and people of color. Latinos are estimated to make up 35% of the homeless population in Los Angeles, but many prefer to stay in overcrowded housing with other families instead of going to traditional homeless shelters and encampments. “They chose the places where they want to live, even if they’re outdoors, because they have communities that are holding them together,” Vestal said.

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