Through these tough economic times, the high cost of living and limited transportation is straining Los Angeles County businesses’ recruiting ventures. According to the Workforce Housing Scorecard, families with a household income of $53,000 a year are only able to afford less than 11 percent of local homes. The Los Angeles Business Council reports that the imbalance between jobs and housing, forces workers to commute. Annually, the average breadwinner spends 72 hours in traffic, according to the Texas Transportation Institute.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca sympathizes with commuters. “For years, high home prices have forced middle-income workers to live farther from their jobs.” Baca says employees need relief.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa supports Measure R, a half-cent sales tax increase that will fund a 30 year transportation project, “We need to invest in workable transit solutions that will improve our residents’ quality of life and keep good jobs here.” Measure R, which stands for traffic relief, could raise up to $40 billion for mass transit improvements.
The sales tax proposal will be on the ballot Nov. 4 and will need a two-thirds vote to pass. Along with Supervisor Don Knabe, two other L.A. County supervisors oppose the tax hike, saying it is unfair to residents.
Other proposed relief solutions include SB 870, written by Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles). Designed with middle to low income families in mind, the bill ultimately helps at-risk homeowners keep their homes. The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) would be authorized to create a program to refinance loans of distressed borrowers with subprime loans.
The Consumer Federation of America reports that African American and Latino women have the highest rates of subprime lending. In a January report issued by United for a Fair Economy, the mortgage crisis will drain $213 billion of wealth from people of color.