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When it comes to the housing crisis, Los Angeles tends to hog the spotlight — and for good reason.

It’s both the capital of single-family-home suburban sprawl and the most crowded place to live, as highlighted by a new investigation by the Los Angeles Times. The series found that more people are squeezing into fewer rooms in Los Angeles County than in any other place in the United States, with deadly consequences for its poorest residents.

That reality could have been avoided by building taller buildings, more apartments and public housing, but were bucked by a century of policy decisions to create the fable of Southern California characterized by single-family homes with manicured lawns in front and orange trees in back.

L.A. Times housing reporter and Gimme Shelter co-host Liam Dillon untangled this cruel paradox alongside Times features reporter Brittny Mejia in the multi-part series. They dived deep into how they reported the story over two years in a special crossover episode of Gimme Shelter with Gustavo Arellano, host of The Times, the L.A. Times thrice-weekly podcast.

You can read the series, and the full transcript here.

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Manuela is the housing reporter for CalMatters. Her stories focus on the political dynamics and economic and racial inequities that have contributed to the housing crisis in California and its potential...