LA County Homelessness Soars
by Gale Holland and Doug Smith, May 31, 2017
Los Angeles County’s homeless population has soared 23% over last year despite increasing success in placing people in housing, according to the latest annual count released Wednesday.
The sharp rise, to nearly 58,000, suggested that the pathway into homelessness continues to outpace intensifying efforts that — through rent subsidies, new construction, outreach and support services — got more than 14,000 people permanently off the streets last year.
“Staggering,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement. “Even as work is being done to get thousands of people off the street and into housing, more and more people are becoming homeless. It is clear that if we are going to end the homeless crisis, we need to stem the overwhelming tide of people falling into homelessness.”
“These are scary numbers,” said Leslie Evans, a West Adams resident active in efforts to combat homelessness in South Los Angeles.
The startling jump in homelessness affected every significant demographic group, including youth, families, veterans and the chronically homeless, according to the report. Homeless officials and political leaders pointed to steadily rising housing costs and stagnant incomes as the underlying cause.
Homelessness also increased sharply in the city of Los Angeles, where the count of just over 34,000 was up 20% from 2016.
“There’s no sugarcoating the bad news,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference Wednesday where the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority released its report. “We can’t let rents double every year. I was particularly disappointed to see veteran numbers go up.”
Garcetti called homelessness a problem that has persisted “through administrations, through recessions,” adding, “Our city is in the midst of an extraordinary homelessness crisis that needs an extraordinary response. These men, these women, these children are our neighbors.” Read Full Article Here