There are more than 44,000 homeless people living in Los Angeles County. That’s a 12 percent rise in the past 2 years.
Most of those counted weren’t staying in homeless shelters. The study also found that the number of tents, makeshift encampments and vehicles with people living in them jumped by 85 percent to around 9,500.
Reasons for the jump in the homeless of Los Angeles County are clearly economic.
“California was one of the hardest hit states in the country during the economic recession, suffering high unemployment and high job losses,” the housing authority said in a news release. “There is a lag in rebound and the working poor and low-income individuals have been hit particularly hard, with the trifecta of unemployment, stagnant wages and a lack of affordable housing.”
Other big cities have experienced similar increases in homelessness, for many of the same reasons. According to the advocacy group Coalition for the Homeless, the number of New Yorkers sleeping in the city’s many shelters is up more than 65 percent from 10 years ago. In January, the system held more than 60,000 people, including more than 25,000 kids.
Last month a study outlining the economic impact of homelessness in Los Angeles County was released.
The impact to the General Fund is unknown at this time. Based on the findings in this report, the estimated annual costs related to homelessness for the City and other agencies exceed 00 million in General Funds and Special Funds.
Most of that money is spent arresting homeless people and other, frequently more benevolent, police services. But nothing comprehensive is being done. Alice Callaghan tells the Los Angeles Times:
“All we get from City Hall is breezy poetry — ‘I will house everybody by next year.’ That’s absurd. There’s no housing to put people in,” Callaghan said. “It’s very depressing. I don’t think people understand how bad it is.”
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