Homelessness in Los Angeles County increased by 9% and by another 10% in the city of Los Angeles, according to results released Thursday, despite millions of dollars made in investments to house those living on the streets.
Results from a point-in-time count conducted by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority in January showed that there were 75,518 people experiencing homelessness in the county, and 46,260 in the city of Los Angeles on any given night.
The figures are an increase from 69,144 in the county last year, and 41,980 in the city.
“These results are disappointing,” Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Hahn said in a statement. “It is frustrating to have more people fall into homelessness even as we are investing hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and resources into efforts to bring people inside. I appreciate the cities that have stepped up and supported solutions, but these numbers prove that solutions-oriented cities are too few and far between.”
Homelessness figures have steadily increased in previous years across the county and city. The issue has consistently been a top issue for elected officials over the years as the expansion of encampments and quality of life issues have prompted complaints from residents and businesses.
January’s count consisted of volunteers fanning out across Los Angeles County to count the number of homeless people living in tents, vehicles and makeshift shelters.
The 2022 homeless count revealed 41,980 unhoused people in Los Angeles, which was up 1.7% from 2020. In the county, there were 69,144 unhoused people, an increase of 4.1%.
Thursday’s news was greeted with disappointment from local leaders who have dedicated millions of dollars to solving the region’s homeless problem.
“The homeless count results tell us what we already know — that we have a crisis on our streets, and it’s getting worse,” said Va Lecia Adams Kellum, Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). “The important thing to take away from today is that for the first time, the city, county, and LAHSA are moving with urgency to house the people living on our streets.”
In a statement, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass noted the City Council has approved $7.8 million for in-patient substance abuse treatment.
“We will not end homelessness without addressing drug abuse and mental illness,” she said. “This is a matter of life and death. I refuse to leave unhoused Angelenos on the street knowing that we can do more. This is an emergency, and we are treating it as such. Together – with leaders in the City, County, State and at the Federal level — we will come together to develop and implement treatment solutions for the unhoused.”
In April, Bass promised to recommend spending a record $1.3 billion next year to get unhoused people into shelter and treatment programs.