The problem is right in front of us. Whether on the side of the freeway, behind a grocery store, or in a park, homelessness is an undeniable challenge in Southern California. You can hardly turn to the news without seeing another story highlighting the need to get those who are homeless off of the street and to expand housing stock in the region. The irony, however, is the disconnect between those two needs. No one wants people sleeping on sidewalks in their neighborhood, but it seems that many also dislike the idea of increasing affordable housing. However, we will never be able to house the homeless, or even low-wage workers and their families, without providing additional housing for people of all income levels. So, what is it about affordable housing that is so scary? We know the homeless and low-income individuals are already in our community. In every community. They may be sharing housing, renting a room, or they might be working in your local grocery store or restaurant and commuting long distances. But they are already in every community. Could it be that affordable housing conjures up images of substandard urban apartment projects surrounded by crime, drugs, and blight?
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