‘These Are Scary Numbers’: L.A. County Homeless Population Rises 23%, New Report Shows

Ricky Riller carries his belongings and dogs in shopping carts before sanitation workers sweep the homeless encampments in the Manchester Square neighborhood in Los Angeles. (Credit:Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County’s homeless population has soared 23% over last year despite increasing success in the placement of people in housing, according to a report released Wednesday.

The sharp rise in the latest count, to nearly 58,000, suggested that the pathway into homelessness continues to outpace intensifying efforts that — through rent subsidies, new construction, outreach and support services — got more than 14,000 people permanently off the streets last year.

“These are scary numbers,” said Leslie Evans, a West Adams resident active in efforts to combat homelessness in South Los Angeles.

Mirroring last year’s count, only one of every four homeless people were classified as “sheltered,” meaning they were counted in an emergency shelter or longer-term transitional program. That left three of every four, or just under 43,000, living on the street.

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