Dual income families are being evicted from small apartments that they can't afford because of the continually rising rents in California. Many families are living in tents or cars to keep their jobs. What is the next step to offer more affordable housing solutions?
Family photos, Bible verse decals and wedding mementos adorn Jimmy Mejia and Patty Garrido's living room walls in South Los Angeles. Despite their efforts, the decorations can't mask the unpatched holes in the ceiling and the roaches that crawl around their kitchen. In one corner, there's a hole where the drywall caved in after a recent storm.
"The heater doesn't work, so in the winter it's really hard; it gets really cold here," Mejia said.
Mejia and Garrido have four daughters and a fifth on the way. They both work full time as assistant managers of a local pizza chain and pay $1,600 a month to rent their cramped three-bedroom apartment just blocks from the University of Southern California campus.
After living in these conditions for the past four years, they found out in late 2017 that the building had been sold and all the tenants were getting evicted. Mejia and Garrido have been frantically searching for new housing in Los Angeles ever since, a difficult task in a city where neighborhoods are exploding with gentrification.
"Everything is so expensive," Garrido said. "We saw a house, it was only three bedrooms and it was $3,800."
While Mejia and Garrido considered moving 60 to 70 miles outside the city, where the housing is cheaper, their commute would take hours and they have only one car. Plus, it's not easy leaving a place that's home.