The number of people living on the streets of Los Angeles has skyrocketed in the past six years.
In fact, the homeless population in Los Angeles is larger than the total population of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Since 2010, the number of people who live on the streets and in shelters in LA has grown 75 percent from 32,000 to 55,000. If Glendale, Pasadena and Long Beach’s homeless populations are counted, the total number of homeless adds up to 58,000.
Additionally, 41,000 of those people live in cars, campers and tents, making them the biggest group of unsheltered people in any U.S. city.
For the first time since the recession, national homelessness would have dropped if Los Angeles was not included in the tally.
There is reportedly a severe housing shortage in the city, but officials hope new policies will help end homelessness.
Voters agreed to pay $4.6 billion in taxes to build housing and provide support for the homeless population.
“The reason I’m optimistic … are the unprecedented resources,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “You’ve got to make sure you’re not just pushing the problem from place to place.”
“To project nearly $5 billion in revenue over the next decade shows substantial resolve and an undeniable commitment,” Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Los Angeles County Supervisor, added. “The people of this region and their leaders (have) relocated their moral compass.”
However, even the best efforts could be taken advantage of.
“We are moving more homeless families and adults into housing,” Phil Ansell, director of the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative Phil Ansell said. “What we have less control over is the inflow: people who simply are unable to pay the rent.”
Recently, the city has focused on placing homeless people in permanent housing without preconditions, often using rent vouchers. However, authorities have said that the housing shortage leaves people without a place to cash the vouchers in.
“Plans are underway for shelter expansions, motel conversions, trailer camps, mobile showers and bathrooms, and parking lots for homeless people to sleep in their cars,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
‘The city and county need to focus on restrooms and showers to get immediate relief,” Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson said.
The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness compiled a “State Data and Contacts Map” using the U.S. Census 2017 Population Estimates. According to the map, California has the highest number of homeless people than any other state with 134,278 people experiencing homelessness on a given night.
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