The number of homeless people in Los Angeles County jumped by nearly six percent over the past year to 46,874, in part due to a “historic” housing shortage, authorities said on Wednesday.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) said in its report that the increase came about despite a reduction in the number of homeless veterans and homeless families.
“Homelessness responds to resources,” said LAHSA executive director Peter Lynn. “When we have systematically applied city, county and federal resources, we see results.”
According to the report, the number of homeless people in the city of Los Angeles jumped by 11 percent while other areas in the county saw larger increases.
The vast majority of the county’s homeless — 34,527 — are without shelter, LAHSA said, meaning that they are living in tents, shantytowns or vehicles.
“Despite our progress, Los Angeles is facing a historic housing shortage, a staggering mental health crisis and veterans are becoming homeless every day,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters.
“As a city, we have launched efforts to tackle these issues, securing record federal investments in supportive services for veteran families, producing a comprehensive homelessness strategy report and expanding a robust winter shelter program.
“This year, we are doubling down on our work.”
Garcetti in September joined several other elected officials outside his office, blocks away from the city’s notorious Skid Row, to announce a plan to spend $100 million to eradicate homelessness.
Critics, however, say that while such measures are welcome they fail to address the core issue of the loss of affordable housing, especially in rapidly gentrifying areas of Los Angeles.