Thanks to soaring rents and stagnant wages, there is presently a significant shortage of affordable housing across the United States, a problem that is exemplified in Southern California, where notoriously high rental rates have been the norm for decades. This means many adults, especially those earning minimum wage, must balance multiple jobs in order to maintain housing in often less-than-desirable living situations. When illness, an accident, or unemployment strikes, these families are often forced from their homes and into the streets, with no choice but to accept inadequate or no healthcare, irregular employment due to not having a permanent address, and unsafe, unsanitary living quarters.

California’s scarcity of affordable housing is especially dire, as most of the state’s southern half has fewer than 25 affordable and available housing units for every 100 low-income families in need of housing. In Ventura County alone, there are an estimated 39,000 households earning less than $25,000 per year, making the area’s high housing rates completely beyond reach. These families are at extreme risk of falling into homelessness and food insecurity. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that in order to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Ventura County at the 2014 Fair Market Rate, a minimum-wage earner would have to work 142 hours per week, 52 weeks per year.

There are currently an estimated 1,417 homeless individuals living in Ventura County, approximately 200 of which are children under the age of 18.

`We at the Hope Foundation recognize that affordable housing is desperately needed in our region, and are committed to grounding a permanent solution to the issue by establishing a three-phased growth plan to allocate housing and resources to the homeless and to keep them from ever returning to the streets.