A homeless woman waits in line to receive groceries and clothing in the skid row section of Los Angeles, California.
A homeless woman waits in line to receive groceries and clothing in the skid row section of Los Angeles, California. - 
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Marketplace

Eviction is considered one of the biggest risk factors for homelessness. It can be the first step in a downward spiral for those with few resources living in expensive cities. But in many cities, like Los Angeles, only a fraction of residents facing eviction can avail themselves of free legal help. Voters in San Francisco recently approved a ballot measure to set aside $5.6 million a year to offer legal counsel to anybody facing eviction. New York has a similar program. A group that represents landlords in San Francisco says the city shouldn't be in the business of footing the legal bills for every eviction. But proponents say it is a relatively small cost for a potentially big social payoff. 

This story is part of the California Dream reporting project.

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