New numbers released Tuesday for Los Angeles County and the city proper show sharp increases in the homeless population there, with a figure for the city that tracks with San Francisco's.
While SF conducts biennial point-in-time homeless counts, the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA) conducts them annually, and the authority announced Wednesday that Los Angeles County has seen a year-over-year increase in the homeless population of 12%, and an increase in the city limits of 16%, as Reuters is reporting.
That's just a one-percent difference from the 17% uptick reported via draft numbers last month in SF's 2019 point-in-time count, which was conducted in January. The final numbers in our local homeless census are expected to be released within days or weeks.
The similar rise in homelessness between the two West Coast cities further cements the narrative that homelessness is on the rise both statewide and nationally, due to a confluence of factors that include housing shortages, housing affordability, and increased rates and varieties of addiction.
In the case of LA, the 16% jump is the largest increase recorded since the LAHSA began doing annual counts a decade ago, and it follows on a 4% drop that was recorded in 2018. And it follows on a year in which 22,000 people in the county were moved into permanent housing. The authority counted almost 59,000 people either unhoused or living in shelters or transitional housing in Los Angeles County on that one night in January.
In a statement, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, "Skyrocketing rents statewide and federal disinvestment in affordable housing, combined with an epidemic of untreated trauma and mental illness, is pushing people into homelessness faster than they can be lifted out.”
Similar to the Bay Area, where Alameda and Santa Clara counties saw even steeper rises in homelessness than San Francisco this year, Orange and Ventura counties saw increases of 43% and 28% respectively.