L.A. Housing Crisis: Entertainment Workers Are Now Living in Their Cars

Los Angeles Casting Calls
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 29, 2016: The Hollywood sign overlooking Los Angeles. The iconic sign was originally created in 1923. (Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com)

The Los Angeles housing crisis rocks Hollywood as entertainment workers are forced to live in their cars to save money and keep their jobs.

Chris Pratt, Tiffany Haddish, Halle Berry, Drew Carey, and Kelly Clarkson all said they were homeless before becoming famous. The entertainment industry is arguably one of the biggest employers in Los Angeles, California. However, the number of people working in the film industry living in their car has risen.

According to a report by The Hollywood Reporter investigating the lives of film industry workers living in their cars, there is a “small but visible population” of actors, film crew workers and other workers in the film industry living in their cars.

Safe Parking L.A. is an organization that launched in 2016 and opened their first facility this year providing guarded, secret lots for people living in their car to sleep in. According to the reports, “ an actor and a couple of part-time production or lighting professionals usually show up, founder Scott Sale says.”

Los Angeles Homeless
Canoga City, California, USA, November 5, 2017: A homeless sleep on bench – Image (behzad moloud / Shutterstock.com)

Engagement manager Jonathan Hans told The Hollywood Reporter entertainment industry types are a common group that frequent the Safe Parking L.A. facilities. “Especially within our younger population, it’s not necessarily uncommon that a group of young kids came out [to L.A.] because somebody told them that they would get them a record deal and then they ended up living out of their van,” he says. 

There are some upsides but more downsides to “transit living”. The news out interviewed Noelle, an Iowa native who graded from Chapman University in 2016. She says she can afford to rent a room in Los Angeles but, it is still too expensive. Noelle said she found a way to make it in Los Angeles and save money on Instagram – living in a van.

“Noelle has one closet and says she’s constantly throwing things out. Her bathroom is a tiny portable toilet stashed beneath her hanging clothes (it is emptied at RV dump stations); running water is provided by 5-gallon freshwater jugs stored underneath her small sink. She, like many who live in their cars, showers at the gym.”

About the California Housing Crisis:

Los Angeles Homeless
LOS ANGELES, CA, USA – APRIL 14: Poster in Hollywood style for poor homeless people in the city in California, on April 14, 2018 in Los Angeles, USA – Image (fritz16 / Shutterstock.com)

Since the 1970s, California has been experiencing a housing shortage such that by 2018, California has the 49th lowest ration of housing units per resident. With such a shortage, basic economics come into play with an increase in demand for the short supply of homes. California has created hundreds of thousands of new jobs, which increases demand for housing and the insufficient construction of new homes and apartments has caused rent and home prices to skyrocket.

In 2017, the median price of a home in California was more than 2.5 times higher than the median home price in the United States. The median home price in San Francisco is $1.3M and $600,000 in Los Angeles. In the rental market, California has the lowest vacancy rate ever while the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,400. The median rent for cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco is over $4,000 per month.