Santa Monica Lookout
|County Homeless Count Shows Increase|
By Lookout Staff
May 12, 2015 -- More than 41,100 people were living on the streets, in vehicles and in emergency shelters in Los Angeles County at the beginning of this year, according to results from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s 2015 homeless count.
Conducted in January by some 5,500 volunteers, the biannual count found homelessness increased by 12 percent over the past two years -- from 35,524 homeless people counted in 2013 to 41,174 in the 2015 survey, officials said.
Among the counts more notable findings, results of a Los Angeles County survey of homeless people found more homeless families, 7,505 in 2015 compared to 6,678 in 2013.
The number of people living in tents, makeshift shelters and vehicles increased by a dramatic 85 percent from 2013, said Naomi Goldman, spokeswoman for the LA Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).
In one positive result from the 2015 count, the number of homeless veterans in the county stayed flat since 2013 -- 4,007 in 2013 compared to 4,016 this year, LAHSA officials said.
Santa Monica also conducetd a survey of its homeless population in January, counting 738 homeless people in the City, a decline of 1 percent from the previous year. The City conducts its homeless count every year. (“Santa Monica Homeless Count Shows Modest Decline,” February 25, 2015)
Although Santa Monica has invested heavily in combating homelessness, City officials say the homeless issue is a regional one that needs a regional solution.
“We would love to see that needle move deeper,” Human Services Administrator Margaret Willis told The Lookout in February. “But we also recognize that we are a very small city within a larger region that has the largest population of homeless people in the nation.”
Willis also cited Santa Monica’s short supply of low-income housing as another obstacle in solving the problem locally.
LAHSA Executive Director Peter Lynn said the county also is faced with a “housing and affordability crisis” that hurts homeless people the most.
“We are working diligently to target resources and interventions to create a sustainable, systemic infrastructure to house our homeless neighbors,” said Lynn.
The full report can be viewed at www.lahsa.org.
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