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Rina Palta is a correspondent on KPCC's investigative team.
Prior to that, Rina covered California's social safety net for the station, with a particular focuses on homelessness. She's also served as a news editor for the station and 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
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.
This week, Southern California counties will canvas their communities to take an annual count of the region's homeless population. Some are using thermal imaging and more detailed questionnaires to better count and understand who's living on the streets.
Numbers indicate California's poorest are finally benefitting from a rising economy, but local food banks and other social services say they're as busy as ever.
Operators of winter shelters say numbers are down this year, and they think location might be the problem. They say NIMBY-ism has kept them from renting space in centralized parts of LA County.
Interest in solving homelessness has intensified over the past year. But there’s a side to the crisis that hasn’t garnered as much attention — entire families are slipping into homelessness. There are more than 16,000 homeless families in Los Angeles County alone. Here’s why that’s happening.
County supervisors voted to put a 1/4 cent sales tax hike on the March ballot. It would generate more than $300 million. But will voters give it the green light?