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Housing

California Ballots Get Creative on Homelessness and Affordable Housing

California state and city ballot measures offer a variety of strategies for improving access to affordable housing, and shrinking the homeless population.
Homeless residents of Los Angeles live in tents along Interstate 110.
Homeless residents of Los Angeles live in tents along Interstate 110.Richard Vogel/AP

Build more housing. Build more homeless shelters. Raise property taxes. Raise wealthy people’s taxes. Raise everyone’s taxes. Address the core of the problem. (First, though, define the core.) Spend more as a state. Spend more as a city. Leave everything as it is.

California hasn’t yet identified which is the most effective solution for addressing its affordable housing problem, as rental prices rise to 2.5 times the national median, and homeless rates follow: In 2017, California held more than a quarter of the country’s total homeless population.