L.A.’s Homeless Outreach Workers Can’t Afford Housing Either

The housing crisis in Los Angeles is so bad that the county’s homeless outreach workers can’t afford to put a roof over their own heads.

That’s according to a new study from Rand Corp., which found that average outreach worker salaries aren’t enough to afford even a one-bedroom apartment.

Outreach workers in the L.A. area are paid $40,000 to $60,000 per year. To afford a one-bedroom, a worker needs to make $64,000. To afford a two-bedroom, they need to make $82,000.

The report, commissioned by Social Justice Partners LA, mainly focused on employees of nonprofits. But low wages have been a problem for LAHSA employees as well, and the issue featured prominently in the resignation of former LAHSA head Heidi Marston last year.  

The consequences are significant for L.A.’s unhoused, as homeless services workers frequently quit to secure higher-paying jobs.

“We’ve invested billions in housing and services, but if we don’t invest in our workforce, we are perpetuating the problem itself,” Social Justice Partners LA Executive Director Christine Margiotta told the Los Angeles Times. “This is an opportunity to bring our workplaces more in alignment with our values, to acknowledge that these wage inequities are a product of centuries of worker exploitation, particularly for Black and Latinx workers, on whose backs this work was built.”