“There was nothing I could do to bridge the gap”—Meet Chuck T. from Los Angeles

February 01, 2019
Chuck T headshot

We’re featuring the stories of Californians who have been impacted by the housing crisis. Their stories are why we’re pushing for legislation like the More HOMES Act. If you’re inspired after reading this, please join our team.

“When I got out of the military, I wanted to work in politics to continue to serve my country. But I wasn’t able to remain steadily employed in politics. As a result, I wasn’t able to keep up with rent.

I thought to myself, ‘I’m about to lose the roof over my head’ … and it was absolutely terrifying.

I didn’t have a job, and I wasn’t going to be able to pay next month’s rent. Try as I might, there was nothing I could do to bridge the gap.

I tried seeking help from veterans services because I just wanted a place to stay. Agencies would say, “sign up for this voucher,” or this program; and the more I signed, the less action and activity I saw. I became disillusioned.

I ended up striking out on my own and walking to different apartment complexes around Los Angeles, asking for an opportunity to put a roof over my head.

Thankfully, I eventually found a non-profit that helped me put a roof over my head, and thanks to the Volunteers of America Los Angeles veterans’ program, I was able to secure stable housing.

Now, I advocate for affordable housing and bills like Senate Bill 50 in LA. I volunteer because when I took an oath to serve my country, there were no caveats for what people looked like, or where they’re from, or whether they could afford rent. I swore to protect all Americans, and I feel that volunteering with California YIMBY for Senate Bill 50 and more affordable housing is a continuation of service to my country and community. It’s what my military service instilled in me.

Building housing near opportunities to hop on public transportation is incredibly important. It reduces the impact on the environment and increases opportunities to travel places that would be inaccessible otherwise. It will allow folks who aren’t making a lot of money to stretch their dollars further. To budget better. To provide for their families.

My conservative friends advocate for market-based solutions, and I can think of no better solution to the housing crisis than to increase supply to match demand, which lowers prices. It’s the perfect solutions for conservative friends. And for liberal friends, it’s an opportunity to secure housing for low-income families to not just survive, but thrive.

That’s why I’m going to be knocking doors and making phone calls, so more folks understand what SB 50 will do for our communities.”