'Los Angeles has experienced a 16% increase in the homeless population over the last year, the latest sign of severe income inequality and a worsening housing crisis plaguing California.
There are now more than 36,000 homeless people in the city of LA, and nearly 59,000 across LA county, a 16% and 12% uptick respectively, according to an annual LA county report released on Tuesday.
The county “point-in-time count”, conducted by thousands of volunteers in January each year, is an estimate of the number of people living on the street, in tents, in cars and in shelters. The sharp increases paint a picture of a growing public health crisis in a region home to some of the richest neighborhoods and people in the US. Some key data from the report:
- More than 44,000 (75%) of the homeless population are unsheltered, with more than 16,000 people living in cars and more than 11,000 in tents and makeshift shelters.
- The number of homeless families increased by 8% to 8,800, with more than 1,600 of them unsheltered.
- Youth homelessness also increased by 24% to nearly 4,000, and more than half of young people are unsheltered.
- More than half of unsheltered adults are experiencing homelessness for the first time.
The LA mayor, Eric Garcetti, called the increase “heartbreaking” in a statement. “These results remind us of a difficult truth: skyrocketing rents statewide and federal disinvestment in affordable housing, combined with an epidemic of untreated trauma and mental illness, is pushing people into homelessness faster than they can be lifted out,” he said.'
Read more: Los Angeles homeless population hits 36,000 in dramatic rise