June 5 (UPI) — The number of homeless people in California’s Los Angeles County increased to nearly 60,000 despite a multi-million dollar investment aimed at ending homelessness.
The annual point-in-time count from the county’s Board of Supervisors showed the number of people living on the streets, in vehicles and in shelters increased by 12 percent to 58,936 during the past year.
In the City of Los Angeles, the number of homeless people increased by 16 percent to 36,000.
“These numbers are very disappointing, very troubling, very sad,” Janice Han, chair of the Board of Supervisors, said. “We need to give the public answers on how we are going to get the chronically homeless off the streets.”
The increases came after the previous count showed that homelessness fell 4 percent in the county and 6 percent in the city.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told the Los Angeles Times that the increase was “heartbreaking.”
“This work has never been for the faint of heart and we cannot let a set of difficult numbers discourage us, or weaken our resolve,” Garcetti said.
Peter Lynn, executive director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, said the largest increase in homelessness came among people between the ages of 18 and 24, which rose 24 percent.
Lynn also noted more than 3,000 more veterans were reported homeless in the past year and the number of families that are homeless increased by 8 percent.
“If we don’t change the fundamentals of housing affordability, this is going to be a very long road,” Lynn said. “If we don’t get ahead of affordability, we’re going to be very hard pressed to get ahead of homelessness.”