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Rina Palta is a Correspondent for KPCC, covering Southern California's social safety net.
Prior to that, Rina was a news editor for the station. She also covered crime and public safety as a reporter, looking at the systems designed to help people who fall into poverty, social welfare, public mental health systems, or criminal justice system — and help many get back on their feet.
Rina came to L.A. from the Bay Area, where she launched the Informant, a digital collaboration between NPR and KALW. Her reporting there focused on California's prison, jails, and law enforcement agencies, and the effect of crime and the criminal justice system on communities.
Palta is a graduate of Haverford College and UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. In her spare time, she's a world-class eater and aspiring surfer.
Stories by Rina Palta
L.A.'s traffic issues, among other problems, are hampering one of the child welfare system's basic functions: getting foster kids face time with their parents.
Because homeless children have such high rates of truancy, school districts around the county are losing millions in funding as the population of homeless students grows.
L.A. County supervisors could change the bail system so that inmates would be released based on their criminal history and risk to the community, not on their ability to pay a set amount.
With Tuesday's electoral victory, leaders in L.A. seem to have the money they need to tackle the area's growing homeless crisis. Now the pressure is on to make good on their promises.
Tuesday is Election Day in Los Angeles County and perhaps the biggest item on the ballot is Measure H, a sales tax to fund services for the homeless.
The state receives about $29 billion annually in federal funding for social safety net programs like food stamps (CalFresh), cash welfare (CalWORKs), foster care, and social security. Poverty advocates are bracing for potential cuts to some programs.
There is currently a shortfall of 2,200 shelter beds in LA County, forcing many of the current shelters to hit capacity at night. The Board of Supervisors is considering a plan to fill the gap.
A new study looked at poverty rates among young children in communities across the state. It found that just four percent of children in L.A.'s beach cities live in poverty. But drive just 20 miles inland, and that number jumps to 68 percent in southeast L.A.
L.A. city leaders, flush with $1.2 billion in voter-approved bonds for homeless housing, are now trying to figure out how to spend the money as quickly as possible.
L.A.'s tight rental market is slowing programs that aim to get homeless people off the streets quickly. Public agencies are looking for work-arounds.
Finding a place to get some rest between chemo and radiation treatments wasn't easy for Arthur Lowden, until he found a county program targeted at the most ill homeless.
Homeless people living in vehicles are no longer allowed to park near schools, day care centers and parks. Restrictions also prohibit residential street parking between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
A measure to raise sales taxes by 1/4 cent will be on the March 7 ballot. Local officials are selling it as a way to tackle homelessness and save money long-term.
With hundreds of families out on the streets, non profits and county homeless advocates are looking for new ways to provide shelter. LA County may rent out full motels to get children and their parents off the streets. In Orange County, a new home opened for homeless families who have chronic medical needs.
Officials gathered information from all of the school districts in LA County. They found a 17 percent jump from last year. Among the causes: the high cost of housing in the region.