report 10% of la’s homeless are fast food workers
According to a new report, thousands of Los Angeles County fast food workers are homeless due to low wages and housing costs.
Fast food workers make up an astounding 11% of California’s homeless population, a number nearly matched in Los Angeles County (9%) and the City of Los Angeles (8%). They estimate 10,000 homeless fast-food workers in California and 3,600 in L.A. County.
“All low-wage workers face some level of risk that they will become homeless,” the study says. Low wages, part-time work, and employee churn increase this risk in fast food. Interlocking hazards hinder workers’ rent payments.”
According to the report, frontline fast-food workers earned $16,800 in 2020, 27% less than workers in other industries, and “the poverty rate for the households of frontline workers in California is three times higher than the rate for the rest of the state’s workers.”
According to the study, if the industry provided “sustaining pay and stable employment,” 10,120 fewer Californians and 3,595 fewer in Los Angeles County would be homeless.
From 2014 to 2022, California had over 170,000 homeless people, up 51%.
43 percent of Los Angeles residents live in “overcrowded housing” and 25 percent pay more than half their income on rent.
The report attributes fast-food workers’ homelessness to low wages and unstable hours. Fast food frontline workers work 1,340 hours per year or 26 hours per week.
“Low wages, part-time hours, on-demand scheduling, and unpredictable scheduling create and perpetuate poverty,” the study says. “Workers scramble between jobs to escape poverty while fighting the deprivation and housing instability caused by intermittent unemployment.”
Last year, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 257 into law, raising the minimum wage for many fast-food franchise workers to $22. However, a Nov. 2024 ballot initiative allows voters to stop the law from taking effect.