Looming ‘eviction cliff’ could displace hundreds of thousands of Southern Californians

Hundreds of thousands of Southern California residents might soon face eviction and homelessness when the current freeze on residential evictions is eventually lifted. 

"This is a catastrophe that I never imagined could happen in the United States," said UCLA professor emeritus of law Gary Blasi. He authored a sobering report published by the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy titled 'UD Day: Impending Evictions and Homelessness in Los Angeles.' It predicted that in LA County, members of some 365-thousand households are likely to lose their housing in the near future.

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"This will make the Great Depression look like the good ole days in that this will all happen really suddenly and it will happen in very densely populated areas. The people losing their housing will be families and people of color in neighborhoods that are already very distressed, that are already suffering four times the rate of death from COVID," he said. "We haven’t really seen much of this yet, but it will definitely come - that there will be something like refugee camps in Los Angeles - either organized or disorganized - unless we do something to intervene."

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Blast said that LA County gained 16,000 homeless people last year. That number could double or triple and raise the number of homeless families by a factor of 10 or 20. He added that most of the people currently living on the streets are not families, but individuals. 

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