Homelessness is on the rise in L.A. County

Mayor Eric Garcetti (credit: limitstogrowth.org, L.A. Mayor)
Mayor Eric Garcetti (credit: limitstogrowth.org, L.A. Mayor)

L.A.’s homeless problem isn’t going away anytime soon.

In Los Angeles County, the number of people sleeping outside in tents, cars and on sidewalks has increased  by nearly 6 percent since last year, according to a new report by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority cited by the Los Angeles Daily News.

The agency found that the county now has a homeless population of 46,874, reflecting a 5.7 percent increase from 2015. Reasons for the overall increase in homelessness include rising home costs, diminishing availability and other hardships in the economy, according to the Daily News.

On the flip side, Peter Lynn, head of the LAHSA, pointed out that strides have been made in housing homeless veterans as well as homeless families. Veteran homelessness has dipped 30 percent, while the number of homeless families went down by 18 percent.

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As part of his budget proposal for 2016, Mayor Eric Garcetti allocated $138 million to fighting homelessness, although a significant portion of this fund will come from selling and developing city property. County officials have also called for building more supportive apartment units and shelters.

Another fraction of Garcetti’s homelessness fund will be from “linkage fees,” or money collected from developers to build affordable housing.

The report also found that homeless people are disproportionately black, or suffer from substance abuse and mental illness. The San Gabriel Valley is the only area in which homelessness fell in the past year. [LADN]Cathaleen Chen