Consider new data from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department. It says that more than one third of the country’s chronically homeless people live in California.
L.A. City and County have more long-term homelessness than any region in the state, which is not news to anyone who has seen tent cities mushrooming on sidewalks, under freeway overpasses and just about anywhere else someone can set down their belongings without being rousted.
Homelessness in urban areas of the country increased 3 percent this year, even as the nation’s overall rate declined 2 percent.
But the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department says that L.A.’s chronically homeless population has grown by 55 percent since 2013. There are now more than 12,500 chronically homeless people in Los Angeles.
People are classified as chronically homeless if they’ve been without a place to live for more than a year, or if they end up on the street several times in a three-year period.
The new data was released just days after L.A. City officials declared a shelter crisis and vowed to make public buildings available to house people living on the streets.
County leaders, meanwhile, recently agreed to spend $300 million over the next five years to build affordable housing as part of a multi-pronged approach to addressing homelessness.