Los Angeles Tops Nation in Chronically Homeless People for Second Year in a Row: Federal Report

Homeless people set up tarps and tents in downtown Los Angeles' Skid Row in May 2016. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Homeless people set up tarps and tents in downtown Los Angeles' Skid Row in May 2016. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

For the second year in a row, Los Angeles reported the largest number of chronically homeless people in the nation — nearly 13,000 — and 95% of them live outdoors, in cars, tents and encampments, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s report to Congress released Wednesday.

Los Angeles also topped the national register this year in homeless veterans — 2,700 — despite slashing the numbers by a third. It also recorded the most unaccompanied homeless youth — more than 3,000, the report said.

Federal housing officials blamed soaring rents and Congress’ failure to fund affordable housing for a rise in homelessness in Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas and the District of Columbia, which reported the biggest jumps.

“What we saw in Los Angeles and Seattle in particular is consistent with the housing crisis we’re seeing particularly in higher-cost areas on the West Coast,” Norm Suchar, director of the federal housing agency’s homeless assistance programs, said during a phone conference with reporters.

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