West News Wire: The newest indicator of how severe the situation of individuals sleeping in cars, encampments, or shelters in California is showing a jump in the number of homeless people in Los Angeles County, up 9% since last year.
Results from a legally mandated count conducted in January were made public on Thursday. They showed that there were 75,518 homeless persons across the county on any given night, up from 69,144 in 2022. 46,260 of them were in the city of Los Angeles, where the proliferation of tents on streets and in parks has stoked public resentment.
The increase was completely made up of people who were homeless rather than people who were staying in shelters. More than 55,000 individuals in the county are now without shelter, a 14% rise from the number of people in shelters declined slightly to just over 20,000.
Since 2015, homelessness has increased by 70% in the county and 80% in the city.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass declared a homelessness state of emergency on her first day in office last December. She has allotted what she called a record $1.3 billion in the city budget to get unhoused people into shelter and treatment programs.
The bleak findings of the count by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, or LAHSA, emphasise the need to tackle homelessness as a crisis, according to Bass, a Democrat, who made the statement on Thursday.
“The task ahead of us is enormous, but we’ll keep working quickly to safeguard Angelenos from being homeless while simultaneously bringing them inside. We will stay in this loop if we don’t do both, she stated in a statement. Lives are at stake.
She provides homeless persons with motel rooms and a route to permanent housing with assistance through her hallmark programme, Inside Safe. Bass stated earlier this month that there are currently more than 14,000 participants.
With almost 10 million residents, LA County has the highest population in the country. In excess of 1 in 5 of all homeless people in the U.S. live in the county, based on a 2022 federal tally.
The problem is most apparent in downtown Los Angeles, where thousands of people live in makeshift shanties that line entire blocks in the notorious neighborhood known as Skid Row. Tents regularly pop up on the pavement and parks outside City Hall, and encampments increasingly are found in suburban areas and under freeway overpasses.
In January, LAHSA volunteers dispersed around the county for the effort’s primary element, the unsheltered street tally. The so-called point-in-time census was conducted over the course of three days, but the results weren’t made public until the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had verified them.
Black people made up around 31% of the homeless in the count, which is more than four times their general share of the county’s population, among other findings. Nearly 43% said they were Latino.
A little more than 30% of those without housing said they had drug misuse issues in the previous year.
Every two years, Congress mandates the counts, and it utilises the data to provide funds for homeless services.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has budgeted record sums to combat homelessness that pervades the state’s major cities and many smaller communities.