Homelessness up 12% in L.A. city and county

May 12, 2015

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The homeless population jumped 12% in the last two years in both the city and county of Los Angeles, driven by soaring rents, low wages and stubbornly high unemployment, according to a report released Monday.


In one of the most shocking findings, the number of tents, makeshift encampments and vehicles occupied by homeless people soared 85% to 9,535, according to biennial figures from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.


"It's everywhere now; the encampments are in residential neighborhoods, they're outside of schools," said L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents Venice.


"It's jarring... It shows we've got a hell of a lot of work ahead."

Countywide, more than 44,000 homeless people were tallied in January 2015, up from more than 39,000 in 2013, the report said. Well over half — nearly 26,000 — were in the city of Los Angeles.


"We need shovels in the ground," said skid row activist General Jeff Page.


The tally is based on a street count conducted by 5,500 volunteers over three days in January, shelter censuses and demographic extrapolation and analysis. The number is required to receive federal funding to tackle homelessness, and is used to estimate program needs and assign resources.


LA Times original article

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