Los Angeles spends more than $1 billion annually addressing its rampant homeless issue, but homelessness soared 10% in the city over the past year, according to an annual report released Thursday by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).
There are currently an estimated 46,260 homeless people in Los Angeles, with the past year bringing a slightly slower rise in homelessness than previous years, the report found. The city began spending more than $1 billion annually on homelessness under former Mayor Eric Garcetti, and that ballooned to over $1.3 billion under Mayor Karen Bass, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Homelessness in Los Angeles has spiked 80% since 2015, according to the LA Times. (RELATED: Homeless LA Man Shows Off Fancy Tent Setup With TV Projector, Wifi and Generator)
“The challenge before us is vast, but we will continue to work with urgency to bring Angelenos inside,” Bass said, according to the LA Times. “We must sustain our momentum by locking arms with leaders at every level of government as we confront this crisis as the emergency that it is. Lives depend on it.”
The city has poured money into shelters, permanent housing and homeless outreach, and Bass’ latest budget proposes buying up hotels and motels to convert into housing for the homeless. Bass also pushed to buy a luxury hotel listed for $69 million to house the homeless a few years after it underwent a costly renovation.
“There’s much more needed to right the ship,” LAHSA’s chief executive, Va Lecia Adams Kellum, said in a briefing Tuesday, according to the LA Times.
“The results are definitely disappointing with all the hard work and all the investment, but they’re not surprising,” she said. “We thought with last year’s numbers that we were flattening the curve. However, what we see in this trajectory is that people remain in a situation of vulnerability where they’re falling into homelessness faster than we can house them.”
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