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Matt Levin

Data and Housing Reporter
Matt Levin is the data and housing dude for CALmatters. His work entails distilling complex policy topics into easily digestible charts and graphs, finding and writing original stories from data, yelling at his computer for something he did wrong in his code, and complaining about his rent on our housing podcast. Matt is a former research associate for the Public Policy Institute of California, where he specialized in poverty and social policy. He has reported for KQED’s The California Report, PBS Frontline, and Private Equity International Magazine. He has a Master’s in Public Policy from UCLA and an MS in Journalism from USC, but he'll always consider himself a Cal bear.

California lawmakers reconsider a controversial idea to keep cities from blocking new apartment buildings near transit. Changes make it more palatable to organized labor and the mayor of Los Angeles.

The mayors of Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland and Sacramento called for bold state action to remedy homelessness, including reviving an affordable housing funding source and making it easier to…

All of the important housing-related results from the election, including the future of rent control and the priorities of the incoming Newsom administration.

California's housing crisis dominated ballots up and down the state. Here's a roundup of some of the most important local housing initiatives on the ballot, from an Airbnb ban in…

With the death of California's proposition to expand rent control, perhaps the bigger question is what incentive the landlords have to compromise at all.

We break down the reasons Prop. 10 appears to be failing, and what lies ahead for the rent-control movement. It’s not all about the money.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he'd work toward a deal between landlords and tenant groups if Prop. 10 loses. Proponents of Prop. 10 are skeptical.

Anti-smoking crusade dating back decades has resulted in fewer deaths, more savings. Fresh data reveals new cigarette tax reducing smoking.

Last year's wine country wildfires destroyed nearly 2,700 homes in Santa Rosa, knocking out 5 percent of the city's already scarce housing stock.  Along with the practical difficulties of resettling and…

A first of its kind for Gimme Shelter: A crossover episode! Matt and Liam join comedy writer and all around smart guy Hayes Davenport, Curbed editor Alissa Walker, and housing…

On the November ballot, Californians will vote on Proposition 10, a measure to bring back rent control. Learn about the measure in our minute explainer.

Key provisions of the state housing package have been in effect for about nine months now. That's far too soon for a definitive judgement, but long enough to discern some…

It's been one year of Matt and Liam talking about California's housing crisis. They reflect on the biggest stories of the past twelve months, and what they expect to be…

Voters will soon have a chance to touch the third rail of California politics. Here’s a breakdown of how broadly and deeply Californians love their cheap property taxes.

On this week's Gimme Shelter, CALmatters' podcast on California's housing crisis, data reporter Matt Levin and the Los Angeles Times' Liam Dillon talk about Liam's investigation into the unintended consequences of that…

Advocates today submitted signatures to qualify a 2020 ballot initiative that would generate tens of billions of dollars for local and state governments by undoing part of California's landmark Prop.…

California still has the nation’s highest poverty rate when you take into account the state’s high cost of living. But the number of people living in poverty here has dropped since…

Would it be a merciful end to the "moving penalty" or a giveaway to rich homeowners and real estate agents? Proposition 5, which California voters will decide on this November,…

Seattle has a lot in common with San Francisco. A thriving economy increasingly dominated by major technology companies. A deep blue electorate with a strong environmental ethos. And of course,…

California's skyrocketing housing costs have created a harsh new reality for refugees on the ground, many of whom are going to extraordinary lengths just to afford rent.

Please subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast. One housing issue will overshadow all others this election: Rent control. Matt and Liam discuss why renewed...

When the California Housing Finance Agency was created in 1975 in Governor Jerry Brown’s first term, the mission was simple: help low- and moderate-income families buy their first home. More than 40...

A grab bag of topics on this pod. First, the Avocado of the Fortnight asks what would Yeezus do about California’s housing crisis (2:00)? Then, a discussion about what the primary results mean...

Teacher housing, new use for a race track, what to do for seniors—voters spoke on these issues and more. Here's what they said.

With California’s primary just days away, here’s a sampling of some of the players spending big to influence your vote.

Please subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast. Matt and Liam discuss a handful of tenants’ rights bills with uncertain futures currently making their...

The median price of a California single family home is now well over half a million dollars. That’s more than double what the average house costs in the rest of the U.S. Put a more nauseating way,...

Housing has become a major issue in California’s race for governor. With the June primary less than a month away, Matt and Liam dive into each of the candidate’s plans to solve our...

 Please subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast. The most controversial and highly publicized state housing bill in recent memory has died. In an emergency...

The most controversial state housing bill in recent memory died with a pretty resounding thud—with YIMBYs seeing the defeat as yet another roadblock to building the new housing the state…

Please subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast. Matt and Liam delve into one aspect of California’s housing crisis that doesn’t receive much...

California's economic recovery and a lack of new housing construction has sent housing prices skyrocketing so high that It’s now too expensive for institutional investors to buy lots of California…

Please subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast. The hottest piece of housing legislation in the country is not being received well by many low-income...

People from Marin to Compton are freaking out about a controversial state housing bill. Here's what you should know about it.

Please subscribe to us on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast. Matt and Liam set up a “meet the podcast guys” booth at the Housing California conference, the...

The percentage of California single-family homes bought in all-cash transactions has climbed in the past decade from 10 to 25 percent—and many of those are investors from Asia. That means…

Please subscribe to us on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast. State legislators are trying to revive redevelopment, the controversial “urban renewal” program that...

Over the past four decades, California middle-class incomes have stagnated, income inequality has grown, and more than half of Californians born that year made less than their parents did by…

Please subscribe to us on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast. If California is going to meet its ambitious climate change goals, it will have to solve its housing crisis. In the...

 Please subscribe to us on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast. Expanded rent control won’t be coming to your city anytime soon—at least not via the state Legislature. Matt...

One way or another, two words are likely to dominate the complicated politics of California’s housing crisis in 2018: rent control. With the Legislature set to hold a key hearing,…

For better or worse—although really, who would argue better?—2017 was the year Twitter commandeered politics. A look at California in 2017, told from tweet to tweet.

You can also subscribe to us on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast. The Gimme Shelter year-end holiday spectacular. First, Matt and Liam submit their nominations for...

For the fourth time this year, Congress has prevented the Trump administration from arresting medical marijuana users. But for California medical growers and users to feel safe from federal prosecution,…

Matt and Liam discuss the potentially massive consequences of federal tax reform on California's housing woes.

It would be far easier to bring a loaded gun into a California restaurant, movie theater or amusement park under federal legislation picking up speed in Congress and backed by…

A simple question, a complicated answer. Ahead of a possible 2018 ballot initiative that could dramatically expand rent control, Matt and Liam explain who benefits and who loses under economists'…

A few months back, we created an explainer to answer two questions: How bad is California's housing crisis, and how did it get so bad? We tried to cover as…

You can also subscribe to us on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast. Matt and Liam award the Avocado of the Week to Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (5:00). Then a discussion of...

You can also subscribe to us on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast. Gimme Shelter’s tour of California’s housing woes takes them to Sonoma County this week, where the...

In yet another challenge to a Trump administration priority, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is calling on Congress to nix legislation that would allow out-of-state gun owners to pack concealed…

California’s African-American students are struggling with standardized tests. Statewide, only one in three black public school students passed the English portion of this year’s exam,...

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This week, we're airing a Zocalo Public Square/AARP forum entitled "Are Housing Prices Killing the California Dream?"

You can also subscribe to us on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast. Starting this week, Matt and Liam explore how state housing policy affects different regions of California....

The Las Vegas mass shooting that left 58 dead and hundreds wounded has renewed attention on federal legislation supported by the Trump administration that could undermine California's strict gun control…

A tale of two Common Core tests and the mind-boggling results of each.

You can also subscribe to us on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, and Overcast. What makes or breaks good housing policy? The wonky details. This week, Matt and Liam break down the ins and outs of all...

California leads once again in something no state wants to boast about: the highest poverty rate in the country.

California lawmakers call on Congress to nix federal legislation that would allow out-of-state gun owners to pack concealed firearms in public places throughout California.

We have a housing package! It’s such big news, we’re breaking it into two mega-pods: This week dedicated to the politics behind the package, and next week to its crucial policy details....

A controversial bill that would have barred state and local law enforcement from helping the federal government prosecute marijuana offenses stalled in the California Legislature.

Three days and counting until the Legislature adjourns for the year. We thought we could see a housing package passed as early as July. Why the delay, and what's happening…

While California tops the list of states with insane housing costs, it’s by no means a uniquely Golden State phenomenon. Building affordable housing—and particularly getting cities and other localities to…

California medical marijuana users can breathe a sigh of relief—the Trump administration can't crack down on them for at least a few more months.

At the Trump administration's urging, Congress has rattled California's medical marijuana industry by at least temporarily endangering a key protection against federal prosecution of medicinal pot.

Every week, Los Angeles Times housing reporter Liam Dillon and CALmatters’ data reporter Matt Levin chat about the latest developments in California housing policy and interview a key housing...

A Democratic legislator has introduced a state resolution opposing Trump-backed federal legislation that would allow out-of-state gun owners to pack concealed firearms in public places throughout California.

Half the state's households struggle to afford the roof over their heads. Here’s what you need to know about one of California’s most vexing issues.

To the relief of California's infant recreational cannabis industry, a federal task force convened by Attorney General—and marijuana foe—Jeff Sessions fails to justify a crackdown on states that have legalized…

It seems like a simple solution. Raise what you pay doctors for treating low-income patients, and they’ll treat more of them. All those waits for appointments and physician shortages that…

It's early, but it looks like good news for public health advocates.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law today a new gun control measure that restricts firearms access for Californians accused of crimes—countermanding recent Trump administration rules expanding who can and cannot…

State lawmakers just approved more than $180 billion in spending. Where is that money going?

In yet another worrying sign for California marijuana advocates, a newly uncovered letter reveals that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked Congressional leaders for the freedom to prosecute medical…

A controversial bill that would bar California law enforcement from helping the federal government prosecute marijuana offenses has passed a key legislative hurdle.

Across ethnicities and economic status, girls outperform boys on English in standardized tests.

California Democrats are gathering in Sacramento this week for their annual convention. Test how much you know about the politics and personalities of one of the bluest states in the…

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra vowed to defend California's recreational marijuana market against the Trump administration this week, but added that he doesn't see an immediate crackdown coming.

Nearly a decade removed from the depths of the Great Recession, a staggering 38 percent of California’s 18 to 34-year-olds still live with their parents.

In a possible reversal of his support for medical marijuana on the campaign trail, President Trump today expressed his displeasure with Congress limiting his administration's ability to prosecute growers and…

Congress has re-authorized a key provision protecting state medical marijuana operations from federal prosecution, providing California's pot industry with at least a temporary reassurance that it can continue business as…

As Congress nears a Friday deadline to avoid a federal government shutdown, an important provision protecting California's medical marijuana operations hangs in the balance.

It seems like a simple question: How many African-American boys scored proficient on California’s math test? Go ahead, try to answer it. I’ll wait while you Google. You’ll probably end up here, at...

While uncertainty mounts over how the Trump administration will handle legal marijuana in California, a group of Democratic state lawmakers are pushing a bill that would prohibit local law enforcement…

Lifelong Californian Lori Thompson is well aware of the state’s dire affordable housing problem. She’s just wondering why she’s the one who has to pay to fix it. After her daughter moved to Reno to...

In another worrying sign for California's newly legalized marijuana industry, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the Justice Department is reviewing its hands-off policy toward enforcing federal anti-pot laws—and that…

The California dream isn’t dead. It just upped and moved to South Dakota. Less than half of people born in California in 1980 are making more money than their parents did as young adults. That’s the...

The California Assembly passed a symbolic resolution rejecting President Trump's controversial executive order temporarily banning immigration and travel from several predominantly Muslim countries.

A three-judge federal panel blocked President Trump’s controversial executive order banning travel to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim nations. The decision by the United...

The U.S. Senate has voted largely along party lines to confirm former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as the nation's Attorney General. The 70-year-old Sessions has been a vocal critic of…

For basic background, start with The weigh-in: Justice

Share this: Don’t expect a clean fight. On a wide array of issues, the Trump administration and California’s Democratic leaders are prepping for protracted battle. Some of these conflicts will end...

California would be forced to allow out-of-state gun owners to pack concealed handguns if a bill with strong GOP backing clears Congress and is signed by President Trump. He has…

Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) has introduced legislation that would further restrict who can possess a firearm near a California school. Assembly Bill 424 would prohibit school district...

There are more white men named Jim in the California Legislature than black and Asian-American women—combined. And that’s not even including another white James. Or a Latino Jimmy. California’s new...

Twenty years ago, if you plucked a random application from a University of California admissions office, it was pretty unlikely that you’d be looking at the transcript and SAT scores of a Latino...

In Florida, it’s Cuban Americans. Within one generation, the children of a loyally conservative immigrant group don’t feel the same attachment to the Republican Party that their parents did. In...

Sure, this presidential campaign has been nasty, divisive and frequently in need of parental control settings. But for how hard it’s been to stomach at times, this election season may be producing a...

This fall, California voters will decide whether to approve the biggest jump in cigarette taxes since the state began taxing tobacco in 1959. Prop. 56, backed by a wide coalition of public health,...

For decades, the standardized test scores of California students have shown that achievement gaps based on race, ethnicity and class—while troubling—tended to narrow over time. And an alarming...

Where in California has the gap between rich and poor grown most since the Great Recession? The Bay Area, home of your Zuckerbergs and Steyers and some of the most expensive zip codes in the...

The number of Californians who have health insurance has grown by more than 2 million since the federal government began requiring two years ago that everyone have coverage. About 90 percent of...

In an era of increasingly polarized politics, Republicans and Democrats still manage to find enough common ground for romance—even marriage—though not very often. On the eve of the 2016 primary...

After a decades-long decline in violent and property crime, early indications from cities across California point to a significant increase in lawbreaking. In California’s 68 largest cities, violent...

Teacher salary database

The searchable database below shows how teacher and staff salaries have grown since the Great Recession in more than 650 of California’s 1,022 school districts. As it illustrates, California...

Gov. Jerry Brown fired the opening salvo of California’s budget season on Jan. 7 when he unveiled his spending proposal for the fiscal year that will start July 1. While the final state budget will...

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