L.A.'s homeless: Nonprofit says lack of emergency housing is a major factor in San Fernando Valley

PACOIMA, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In the San Fernando Valley, the homeless crisis is an especially challenging problem. Camps, like one established in a Pacoima park, are common throughout the area. One reason why, a nonprofit group says, is simply because there is no emergency housing available.

ABC7's Chris Christie captured shocking video from AIR7HD showing large homeless encampments built up across the Valley.

ABC7 showed the footage to Ken Craft, founder of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, who said: "That's sobering."

For Craft, it's a heartbreaking scene he knows all too well. For the last 10 years, he's been working with the homeless across the Valley and he has seen the homeless numbers steadily grow.

"Seeing a video like this, it is shocking," Craft said. "Because it just reminds you that there's 8,000 people that do not have a house to live in just in the San Fernando Valley. And that's not okay."

Craft said drastic measures must be taken to help with the growing crisis, especially in the San Fernando Valley, which has no year-round homeless shelter.

"First and foremost, there has to be some level of emergency housing," Craft opined. "Right now, there's nowhere for anyone to go. So we need emergency housing, we need transitional housing."

While lawmakers are focused on building permanent housing, it takes time, leaving more people out on the streets. Craft said the city needs to re-think its zoning to help create emergency shelters, something that often receives strong push-back.

"As long we keep resisting the process of building these facilities, then we're going to continue to see homelessness living on our streets," Craft explains.

Craft said that solving the homeless crisis is certainly a very complex problem, one that he said will require team work on all levels, from the government to residents. Without it, he said, more and more people will be seen living on the streets.
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