LA County sees steep increase in homelessness

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County is seeing a steep increase in homelessness this year, according to a new count.

New results from a countywide count conducted earlier this year show increases in nearly every category.

It found nearly 58,000 people countywide are homeless, a 23 percent increase over last year.

The Antelope Valley saw one of the largest increases, a jump of 50 percent. Among young adults ages 18-24, homelessness jumped by 64 percent, and there are 1,700 more homeless now living on LA's Skid Row.

Experts working to solve the crisis say it is driven by a lack of well-paying jobs and the high cost of housing in the region.

"They make beds out of cardboard or if they're lucky, tents," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. "They have their heads balled up on newspaper. These men, these women, these children are our neighbors."

Region officials have taken some steps to spend additional funds to fight homelessness in the past year. This year, county voters approved Measure H, a 0.25 percent county sales tax for 10 years, expected to provide $355 million a year to fight homelessness.

Last year, city of Los Angeles voters approved Measure HHH, authorizing $1.2 billion in bonds to pay for building 10,000 units of housing for the homeless.
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