Massive job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic nationwide will leave tens of thousands of low-wage workers without homes over the next three years, a report published Tuesday by a Los Angeles-based research group forecasts.
Los Angeles County, already struggling with one of the nation’s largest homeless populations, will be especially hard hit, on a per-capita basis, because of its large low-wage labor force and high housing costs.
Based on the effects of the 2008 recession, the Economic Roundtable report “Locked Out” concludes that pandemic-related unemployment will start a brutal cycle of homelessness. It says the uptick began as a trickle in 2020, but will triple this year and peak by 2023.
By then, the number of additional working-age adults with no place of their own to sleep will reach more than 52,000 in Los Angeles County, 131,000 in California and 600,000 across the nation, it said. The most recent federal estimate, for 2019, estimated there were 568,000 homeless people nationally and 129,000 in California. The 2020 count for Los Angeles County put the number at just over 66,000, meaning the projection is for a near doubling.
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