Nearly half of all renters can’t afford rent, and over half a million Americans are homeless on any given night. How did we get here?
When Rosalina Hernández and her husband moved into their studio apartment on Los Angeles Street in South Central LA 15 years ago, the place was just for the two of them and the baby they were expecting. Back then, it wasn’t too hard to find what they needed: an apartment they could afford with just a bit more space.
But as their family grew, they remained stuck in place. Eventually, six people—Rosalina, her husband, and their four children—were sharing the one main room, a small kitchen, and a bathroom. Today, the tidy living room is also the dining room and bedroom; the bathroom serves as a makeshift closet. “It is hard, because we’re six,” Rosalina says in Spanish, clasping her hands in her lap. “It’s too small for six.” When her oldest son, now a freshman in college, needed to concentrate on schoolwork, he’d lock himself in the bathroom until the early-morning hours.