Events | Panel Discussion: I wish the rent was heaven sent - Housing precarity in Los Angeles and Berlin

Los Angeles | November 19, 2018 | 7:30 PM

CC by Sasha Asensio (

The number of people experiencing homelessness has increased dramatically in Los Angeles as well as in Berlin. As recently as 2015, less than 17,000 people were housed in emergency shelters in Berlin. In the coming years, this number is expected to increase to 47,000. The German authorities are threatened to fail in their search for suitable accommodations.

While homelessness used to be a phenomenon limited to the margins of society, today, even middle-class families can be affected. That also holds true for Los Angeles, the city with the largest number of people experiencing homelessness in the United States. Here, many unsheltered people live in cars, RVs or tents. They are often employed, but unable to afford the high rents.

Jutta Allmendinger (Thomas Mann Fellow, WZB), Ananya Roy (UCLA) and Jürgen Robert von Mahs (The New School) discuss the causes of the lack of affordable housing in Los Angeles and Berlin, contributing legal and cultural factors and what measures and initiatives to be taken, so that both Sister Cities may learn from each other. The discussion will be moderated by journalist Caroline Porter.

Jutta Allmendinger is President of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and Professor of Educational Sociology and Labor Market Research at Humboldt University Berlin. Her research focusses on social inequality, the sociology of the labor market and social policy. Jutta Allmendinger earned her Ph.D. at Harvard University and is currently one of the first fellows at the Thomas Mann House Los Angeles.

Ananya Roy is Professor of Urban Planning and Social Welfare and inaugural Director of The Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin . She held the Distinguished Chair in Global Poverty and Practice at UC Berkeley. Her most recent publications include Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World (University of California Press, 2016).

Jürgen Robert von Mahs is Associate Professor of Urban Studies at the New School in New York City. His research and teaching interests include poverty, homelessness, comparative social policy analyses, globalization processes, and social movements. Most recently, he published Down and Out in Los Angeles and Berlin: The Sociospatial Exclusion of Homeless People (Temple University Press, 2015).

Thomas Mann House, 1550 N San Remo Drive, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

(By Invitation Only)


An event in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles

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