This is according to data from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), which recently released its annual count of homeless people both in the city and in Los Angeles County. This data shows that there is an estimated 46,260 homeless people in the city, a 10 percent year-over-year increase, and 75,518 homeless people in the county, up nine percent from the prior year. (Related: Number of homeless people in Los Angeles County surges to more than 75,000.)
This number includes 50,156 people classified as "unsheltered," defined as those living outside in tents, cars, RVs and other makeshift encampments. The unsheltered population increased by 14 percent year-over-year and now make up around 70 percent of the overall homeless population in the county. The remaining approximately 20,000 homeless people live indoors in shelters.
Furthermore, the count produced by the LAHSA is only a rough estimate. LAHSA employees and volunteers conducted a count of the homeless population in the city and county only from Jan. 24 to 26 this year, suggesting that the number is an undercount and there may be thousands more homeless people living in the area today.
The number of homeless people in the city and the county have been steadily increasing in recent years, with the issue consistently being one of the main concerns of voters and the city and county officials they elect.
"The results are definitely disappointing, with all the hard work and all of the investment, but they're not surprising," said LAHSA Chief Executive Va Lecia Adams Kellum. "People remain in a situation of vulnerability where they're falling into homelessness faster than we can house them."
"The homeless count results tell us what we already know – that we have a crisis on our streets, and it's getting worse," Kellum added. "The important thing to take away from today is that for the first time, the city, county and LAHSA are moving with urgency to house the people living in our streets."
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass noted that the Los Angeles City Council has already approved $7.8 million in spending for in-patient substance abuse treatment, claiming that homelessness will not be solved "without addressing drug abuse and mental illness." This comes several months after Bass promised to recommend spending a record-breaking $1.3 billion next fiscal year to get the so-called unhoused into treatment and shelter programs.
Furthermore, Bass recently signed an updated declaration of a state of emergency due to the city's homelessness crisis, allowing the city government to further expedite its spending programs meant to provide people with housing.
In a statement following the signing of the updated emergency declaration, Bass claimed that, in her first six months in office, her government has seen "thousands of Angelenos come inside and thousands of units expedited" – a brazen claim very clearly disproven by the recent LAHSA data.
Bass added that the urgency with which her government has supposedly moved in her first six months "must continue with added collaboration and coordination with the City Council in this emergency."
The updated emergency declaration provides the mayor with additional "emergency powers" and allows her office to enhance collaboration with the city council in a variety of ways, including coordinating and issuing new rules, expediting contracting, ordering contracts and providing emergency services.
This also allows the mayor's office to expedite the building of affordable housing projects and to focus efforts on maximizing the use of publicly owned land for new housing projects. "We cut red tape and we fast-tracked approval," said Bass.
The emergency declaration will last for 90 days, after which the city council will consider renewing it.
Learn more about the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles and the rest of the country at HomelessAgenda.com.
Watch this clip from the Next News Network as host Gary Franchi discusses Los Angeles' homelessness crisis.