2019 L.A. County homeless count: Number of people living on streets expected to rise

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The official results of the 2019 Los Angeles County homeless count will be released Tuesday, and the number of people living on the streets is expected to rise.

On the eve of the homeless count reveal, Michael Weinstein with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation is speaking up.

"Every day that somebody lays their head down on the pavement is a disgrace. This is one of the richest cities in the world," he said.

Last year, L.A. County's homeless count was more than 52,000 people. This year, that number is expected to be higher.

L.A. County estimates more than a half million new housing units are needed for low-income renters, and they're dedicating nearly half of $1 billion to homelessness programs.

But will it solve the county and L.A. city's crippling crisis?

Weinstein blames leaders like Mayor Eric Garcetti for not finding more creative ways to house people faster.

"The primary responsibility rests on the mayor," he said. "In this district where we are sitting, he engineered a gentrification program that has resulted in thousands of people in this community being dislocated."

At a press conference earlier Monday, Garcetti was on the defensive, urging the federal and state government to allocate more funds to the homelessness issue.

"I don't have a hospital, I don't have a mental health program, I don't run a probation department," he said. "I don't release people from the prison. I can't cure someone from an opiod addiction. I need help, we need help."

Gov. Gavin Newsom isn't blind to the issue. He says California has no homeless policy and it is our moral failure. And one of the critical issues to address: mental health.

"We're never going to address the issue of chronic homelessness unless we get serious about our delivery system as it relates to mental health," Newsom said.

No matter what the cause, the homelessness issue in Los Angeles city and county is at a breaking point.

The highly-anticipated homeless count will be released at the Board of Supervisors meeting at 11 a.m.
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