New count shows LA County homelessness is up 23% despite housing efforts

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The LA County homeless population has soared 23% over the last year despite increasing efforts to place people in housing. The latest annual count of nearly 58,000 was released on Wednesday. 

The successful housing of the current homeless is being outpaced by people becoming homeless. The housing efforts that include rent subsidies, new construction, outreach and support services got more than 14,000 people permanently off the streets last year.

“Staggering,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement. “Even as work is being done to get thousands of people off the street and into housing, more and more people are becoming homeless. It is clear that if we are going to end the homeless crisis, we need to stem the overwhelming tide of people falling into homelessness.”

The shocking jump in homelessness has affected all demographics: youth, families, veterans and the chronically homeless. Specifically in the city of Los Angeles the count of over 34,000 is up 20% from 2016. 

"There's no sugarcoating the bad news," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference Wednesday where the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority released its report. "We can't let rents double every year. I was particularly disappointed to see veteran numbers go up."

The Homeless Services Authority attribute the worsening problem to the financial stress placed on renters in the Los Angeles area. In LA and Orange Counties more than two million household have housing costs that exceed 30% of their income based on data from a Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing studies. 

The California Housing Partnership Corp said that median rent, adjusted for inflation, has increased more than 30% from 2000 to 2015 while the median income was flat. 

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