South Los Angeles | Free Essay Examples


Violence, poverty, education, homelessness, and incarceration disproportionately afflict South Los Angeles’ Black and Latino population. Systemic racial discrimination, economic inequality, and restricted resources and opportunity have caused these challenges for years. Aiken, Reina, and Culhane found that these concerns have caused a housing crisis in South L.A. that disproportionately impacts this group. The authors assert that “poor housing conditions, high rent burdens, and overcrowding” has greatly affected Black and Latinos (Aiken et al. 130). Due to inadequate housing and homelessness services, low-income Hispanic families are more susceptible, according to the article. There are few public locations and instruments for meaningful talks regarding why these problems are so prevalent in the community. Forums for meaningful discourse concerning poverty, racism, and other oppressions are few in an area with low resources. Lack of access to these venues makes it difficult for the community to come together and work toward real solutions that address the fundamental causes of these challenges. South L.A. will stay poor, unequal, and unjust without these conversations. Poverty, violence, homelessness, and poor education disproportionately affect South Los Angeles’ Black and Latinx population due to systemic racial discrimination, economic inequality, and restricted resources and opportunity.

Poverty and joblessness have hit South LA, primarily Black, and Latino. South Los Angeles had 16.7% unemployment in 2016, compared to 8.3% countywide, and the authors state that “for many communities of color, homeownership is out of reach” (Melany De La Cruz-Viesca et al. 160). South LA’s median family income was $35,029. The county median was $71,756. Due to a shortage of jobs, this income gap exists. South LA’s population needs more decent education, housing, and work. These characteristics increase income inequality between the region and the county. South LA had a median property value of $385,000, compared to $541,000 in Los Angeles County. Poor housing adds to low salaries in the region. South LA inhabitants need more work, adequate education, and housing, contributing to the income gap between the county and South LA. This issue disproportionately affects impoverished and jobless black and Latino/residents. According to the Kerner Commission Report, big US cities like Los Angeles have severe economic and social inequities.

The LAPD has designated South Los Angeles (SOLA) as having some of the city’s worst crime rates, according to Greg Ridgeway and John M. MacDonald’s paper “Effect of Rail Transit on Crime: A paper of Los Angeles from 1988 to 2014. SOLA has the most violent crime in the city (Ridgeway et al. 277). The authors observe that socioeconomic disadvantage, segregation, gangs, and lack of police resources have contributed to SOLA’s unusually high violent crime rates. The authors say SOLA’s high violent crime rate affects Black and Latino/residents. In 2008, black and Latino/victims of violent crime in SOLA made up 54% of the population, although making up just 41%. In 2008, Black and Latino persons comprised 41% of SOLA’s population but 71% of gang-related violence victims (Ridgeway et al. 280). The writers also observe that SOLA has violent crime hotspots. In 2008, the median income in SOLA was $31,000; however, in certain places, it was significantly lower (Ridgeway et al. 283). The authors also found that gang-related crime was more prevalent in SOLA neighborhoods with fewer police resources. Thus, Black and Latino/residents of SOLA are disproportionately affected by violent crime in these areas. The article attributes the area’s high violent crime rate to socioeconomic disadvantage and segregation, gangs, and a lack of police resources.

South LA high schools had the lowest graduation rates in LAUSD, according to research. Many factors include long-standing disparities. The public education system has traditionally neglected African-American and Latino residents of South LA (Sauter 2). The towns need high-quality instructors, secure learning environments, and advanced educational possibilities. The schools have a considerably lower graduation rate than the city average. In addition to resource shortages, additional factors affect South LA graduation rates. Many local students come from low-income families and need help financially, preventing them from graduating. Students may also need help concentrating due to parental neglect or financial obligations. South LA schools have long been underfunded, leaving students needing instructors, technology, and other necessary resources. South LA’s educational gaps need increased investment. South LA schools need funding and help from the Los Angeles Unified School District to increase graduation rates. It could include hiring more teachers and staff, improving classroom technology, and offering more advanced education (Sauter 1). The district must also address poverty, racism, and parental support, contributing to inequities.

Around 64% of LA County’s homeless are Black or Latino, according to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (Nicholas et al. 2212). It exceeds California (41%) and the US (38%) numbers (Nicholas et al. 2214). The shortage of affordable housing in South Los Angeles disproportionately impacts persons of color, causing homelessness. South Los Angeles lacks affordable housing due to decades of redlining and disinvestment. People of color in South Los Angeles are more likely to face housing instability and homelessness due to this continuous shortage of housing services. Black and Latino homeless people are overrepresented owing to their unequal access to housing resources. The LAHSA also reports that Black and Latino South Los Angeles people are more likely to remain homeless longer. Black and Latino people are more likely to experience systemic housing hurdles like racism and discrimination, contributing to this. People of color also tend to have less money, making permanent housing harder to find. South Los Angeles’s racial gaps in homelessness are exacerbated by additional social and economic disadvantages (Nicholas et al. 2219). Poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, chronic illness, and mental illness have increased. Such factors make secure housing harder for individuals of color and raise their risk of homelessness.

shows homelessness in South Los Angeles (Bernard).

Figure 1.0 shows homelessness in South Los Angeles (Bernard).

Homelessness and criminality have increased concurrently in Los Angeles. The Esfandi Law Group estimated 59,000 homeless people in Los Angeles, up 16% from a year earlier (Bernard 1). Downtown, where most homeless reside, crime has surged. In 2019, LAPD murders rose by 6% (Bernard 2). The neighborhood’s growing homeless population is to blame, many of whom are forced to perpetrate crimes. Theft and drug usage have increased due to poverty. The killings of Shells and Kupfer prompted the homeless community to be targeted with “vigilante violence, crimes, and other mistreatment.” Eric Garcetti declared a state of emergency and allocated $1 billion to fight homelessness (Bernard 3). However, city residents must be protected from homelessness and rising crime.

The sources above vary in intent and content. Aiken, Reina, and Culhane’s first source, an academic journal article, explores low-income Hispanic families’ housing issues and how housing and homelessness services might help. Bernard’s second source is a blog article on Los Angeles’ escalating homelessness and criminality. The third source, De La Cruz-Viesca et al., is a scientific journal article on racial wealth disparity in Los Angeles on the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission Report. Nicholas et al. study mortality patterns among Los Angeles County’s homeless. Ridgeway and MacDonald’s fifth source is a 26-year scientific journal article on Los Angeles rail transportation and crime. Sauter’s sixth source is an article in the media on South Los Angeles communities with the fewest high school graduates and lowest educational achievement. The Melany De La Cruz-Viesca et al. article best explains homelessness, incarceration, poverty, insecurity, and poor educational success. The article examines Los Angeles’ poverty, insecurity, and poor educational accomplishment. A shortage of affordable housing, high imprisonment rates, and homelessness causes these challenges.

South Los Angeles has several social and economic challenges that disproportionately impact Black and Latino residents. Poverty, violence, education, homelessness, and incarceration. All of these challenges come from systematic racial discrimination and economic inequality caused by restricted resources and opportunities. Without real dialogues and measures to address the root issues, the neighborhood will remain poor, unequal, and unfair. Thus, community forums for meaningful poverty, racism, and other oppressions are crucial. The LA Unified School District should hire additional teachers and staff, upgrade classroom technology, and provide more advanced instruction in South LA schools to boost graduation rates. Finally, the city must provide resources to tackle homelessness and growing violence.

Work Cited

Aiken, Claudia, Vincent J. Reina, and Dennis P. Culhane. “Understanding low-income Hispanic housing challenges and the use of housing and homelessness assistance.” Cityscape 23.2 (2021): 123-158.

Bernard, M. “The Homelessness Crisis and Rising Crime in Los Angeles.” Esfandi Law Group, 29 Mar. 2022, esfandilawfirm.com/homelessness-crisis-and-crime-in-los-angeles/. Accessed 14 Dec. 2022.

Melany De La Cruz-Viesca, et al. “Fifty Years after the Kerner Commission Report: Place, Housing, and Racial Wealth Inequality in Los Angeles.” RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, vol. 4, no. 6, 2018, p. 160, https://doi.org/10.7758/rsf.2018.4.6.08. Accessed 28 Mar. 2020.

Nicholas, Will, et al. “Using Point-in-Time Homeless Counts to Monitor Mortality Trends Among People Experiencing Homelessness in Los Angeles County, California, 2015‒2019.” American Journal of Public Health 111.12 (2021): 2212-2222.

Ridgeway, Greg, and John M. MacDonald. “Effect of Rail Transit on Crime: A Study of Los Angeles from 1988 to 2014.” Journal of Quantitative Criminology, vol. 33, no. 2, 2017, pp. 277–91. JSTOR, https://www.jstor.org/stable/48701087.

Sauter, Michael B. “Cities Where the Fewest People Graduate High School.” USA TODAY, 21 Aug. 2018, eu.usatoday.com/story/money/economy/2018/08/21/cities-where-fewest-people-graduate-high-school/37271117/

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