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UCLA LPPI Study Reveals Housing Struggles for Latino Renters in Los Angeles County

Findings Highlight the Impact of Upcoming Rent Policy Changes on Latino Community

As the February 1, 2024, deadline for the end of the rent freeze and COVID-19 rental debt payments approaches in the City of Los Angeles, a new brief from the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute sheds light on the challenges faced by Latino renters in the county.

Titled “Facts about Latino Renters in Los Angeles County,” the analysis draws from the Latino Data Hub, offering a comprehensive look into the number and characteristics of renters grappling with housing cost burdens. The study comes at a critical juncture, just days before substantial policy changes are set to take effect in the largest city within L.A. County, potentially exacerbating housing affordability issues for Latino households in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The analysis reveals that over half of Latino renters in the county are burdened by housing costs. Specifically, 55% of Latino renters face housing cost burdens, with 27% experiencing a moderate burden (spending more than 30% but less than 50% of their income on housing expenses), and an additional 28% facing a severe burden (allocating 50% or more of their income towards housing).

The findings emphasize the critical issue of housing affordability for a significant segment of the Latino community in one of the nation’s most populous counties. “As we approach the critical date of February 1, it’s imperative to recognize the potential for increased rent struggles among residents of Los Angeles County,” said Jie Zong, co-author of the factsheet and senior research analyst at UCLA LPPI.

Co-author Mariah Bonilla, a community coordinator at UCLA LPPI, added, “Even though getting a post-secondary credential often means fewer housing cost problems, we’re seeing that around 2 out of 5 Latino renters who’ve been to college or have more education still struggle to afford their homes. Even with better education, a good portion of Latino renters are still facing tough housing costs.”

The study also reveals disparities among Latino racial groups, with Afro-Latino renters facing the highest rate of severe housing cost burden. Additionally, variations in housing cost burden across descent groups and employment status are highlighted. 

Rodrigo Dominguez-Villegas, director of the Latino Data Hub, expressed the institute’s commitment to providing accurate data for informed discussions. “Our aim is to provide community advocates and decision-makers with accurate, in-depth data to better understand these challenges. This analysis offers a foundation for informed discussions that could improve housing affordability. We remain committed to delivering reliable and insightful data through this and future analyses to support our communities in addressing these critical issues.”

About UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute:

The UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute is a non-partisan research institute that seeks to inform, engage, and empower Latinos through innovative research and policy analysis. LPPI aims to promote equitable and inclusive policies that address the needs of the Latino community and advance social justice. 

Facts about Latino Renters in Los Angeles County

Housing insecurity in Los Angeles County continues to concern residents and policymakers. Both Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles provided COVID-19 renter protections. The upcoming deadlines for rent payments and the end of the COVID-19 Rent Stabilization Ordinance add urgency to this crucial issue.

Renters in Los Angeles County by Race and Ethnicity (2021):

More than half of renters across racial groups in Los Angeles County are rent-burdened, with Black renters having the highest rate.

Renters Experiencing Housing Cost Burden in Los Angeles County by Race and Ethnicity (2021):

Among Latino racial groups, Afro-Latino renters have the highest rate of severe housing cost burden.

Renters Experiencing Housing Cost Burden in Los Angeles County, by Sex and Latino Descent Groups (2021):

Latina renters are more likely to be housing cost-burdened than Latino men across descent groups.

Renters Experiencing Housing Cost Burden in Los Angeles County, by Nativity/Citizenship and Latino Descent Groups (2021):

For most descent groups except Hondurans, U.S.-born and naturalized citizen Latino renters have lower housing cost burden rates than noncitizen Latino renters.

As the end of the rent freeze and deadlines for COVID-19 rental debt approach, Latino residents of Los Angeles County may anticipate exacerbated rent struggles. You can read the full report here.

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