L.A. Homeless Numbers Climb 12%

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LOS ANGELES — According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s biennial report, the homeless population of the city and county of Los Angeles climbed 12% in the last two years as tents, makeshift dwellings and cars used by the homeless skyrocketed by 85%.

In January of 2015, the LAHSA report states, Los Angeles County numbered over 44,000 homeless people, as opposed to 39,000 in 2013; 26,000 lived in the city of Los Angeles.

According to a January 2015 statement from LAHSA, the number of homeless persons has increased in every County Supervisorial District since 2013. The highest growth was in East LA County (47%), South Bay (39%), and the Antelope Valley (33%). The LAHSA also quoted Mayor Eric Garcetti promising to raise the minimum wage as a solution for homelessness, saying, “To prevent people from becoming homeless, I’m proposing an increase in the minimum wage and calling for more housing and services for our most vulnerable Angelenos.”

The 4,400 of homeless veterans in the county represented a drop of 6% over the past two years.

L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents Venice–which, like downtown Los Angeles, has seen a rise in new buildings replacing hotels, motels and small apartments where many of the homeless had lived–told the Los Angeles Times, “It’s everywhere now; the encampments are in residential neighborhoods, they’re outside of schools. It’s jarring. … It shows we’ve got a hell of a lot of work ahead.”

Steve Clare, executive director of  Venice Community Housing, charged, “The city and county have done such a terribly poor job of creating affordable housing, basically they’ve ignored the issue.”

Garcetti said in January that the city was halfway towards reaching his previously-stated goal of housing every homeless veteran. In April, City Administrative Officer Miguel A. Santana released a report acknowledging that the city spent $100 million a year on homelessness. The affordable housing fund for the city of Los Angeles totaled $26 million in 2014; it had totaled $108 million in 2008.


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