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Los Angeles tops the nation in chronically homeless people, federal report finds

Gale HollandContact Reporter la-kmparker-1479336237-snap-photo

For the second year in a row, Los Angeles reported the largest number of chronically homeless people in the nation — nearly 13,000 — and 95% of them live outdoors, in cars, tents and encampments, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s report to Congress released Wednesday.

Los Angeles also topped the national register this year in homeless veterans — 2,700 — despite slashing the numbers by a third. It also recorded the most unaccompanied homeless youth  — more than 3,000, the report said.

Federal housing officials blamed soaring rents and Congress’ failure to fund affordable housing for a rise in homelessness in Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas and the District of Columbia, which reported the biggest jumps.

“What we saw in Los Angeles and Seattle in particular is consistent with the housing crisis we’re seeing particularly in higher-cost areas on the West Coast,” Norm Suchar, director of the federal housing agency’s homeless assistance programs, said during a phone conference with reporters.

The numbers came from a nationwide street count and shelter survey conducted in January; local results were released in May. City and homeless officials at that time pointed to an improvement

in counting homeless youth to account for all or part of the city’s 11% increase in homelessness and a 5.7 % jump countywide from the year before. Read More