LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The number of homeless people in Los Angeles County increased 5.7 percent over the past year to reach 46,874, according to the results of the 2016 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count released Wednesday, May 4.
The figure is up from 44,359 in 2015, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. The vast majority of the county’s homeless — 34,527 people — are unsheltered, up from 31,025 in 2015.
The city of Los Angeles overall, however, saw an 11 percent jump in the number homeless people, to 28,464, representing 65 percent of the county total, according to the count. Of the city’s homeless, 21,338 are unsheltered. The San Fernando Valley saw a 35.2 percent increase, while the San Gabriel Valley had a 15.7 percent decrease.
Despite the overall increase, homelessness among veterans dropped by 30 percent across the county, from 4,362 in 2015 to 3,071 this year. In the city of Los Angeles, the number of homeless veterans fell to 1,617, down from 2,733 last year.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he has proposed $138 million in the city’s budget for the coming year to affordable housing and homeless services, and noted that the city housed more people last year than any other city in the country.
“Despite our progress, Los Angeles is facing a historic housing shortage, a staggering mental health crisis and veterans are becoming homeless every day,” Garcetti said.
“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.”
City Councilmember Jose Huizar, whose district includes Skid Row, said the new numbers are a reminder that homelessness is a persistent problem.
“This year’s budget is a good start at funding our homeless strategy report priorities, and I am hopeful that there will be a measure on this November’s ballot to raise an ongoing source of new revenue to finally address this issue like the urgent humanitarian crisis that it is,” Huizar said.
Family homelessness throughout the county fell by 18 percent over the past year, the report found.
“L.A.’s success in significantly reducing veteran and family homelessness reinforces the importance of resources and collaborative system to deliver them,” said LAHSA Executive Director Peter Lynn.
“Homelessness responds to resources. When we have systemically applied city, county and federal resources, we see results. These are model programs to leverage and replicate in working with our city and county partners to increase homeless assistance resources and strategic investment through coordinated systems.”