Photo credit: Ben Hershey

Surging homelessness in LA County is an epidemic without a solution

1 min read

Tent districts, make-shift encampments and overwhelmed shelters are daily norms for Los Angeles County’s homeless and those who work with them. Sadly, the situation worsens.

So dire the situation, this week, a judge gave the County permission to clean out dry river beds for shelter camps for homeless.

Homeless find shelter in commercial districts or the lawns of city buildings, showing growing wealth disparities.

Most homeless land between the ages of 25 and 54, while 1 in 3 homeless are women. The growing costs of living along with a housing shortage, sustainable job salaries and migration into the area have created a gap wider than the basin that the city is nestled.

With L.A. County having the seventh largest inequality gap, homelessness looks to be a long-standing issue.

Another issue linked to income-equality is racial disparities that exist with access and middle-to-higher-waged jobs. In a report, the LA Business Journal says that 18 percent of residents live below the poverty line.

In data collected by the Los Angeles Times, blacks make up 8 percent of LA County, but are 39 percent of the homeless population. Latinos are next with 27 percent and make up 48.1 percent of the county. While, whites are 26 percent of the homeless, yet total a little over 27 percent of the area.

Red Tape and Running Out of Money.

The burgeoning homeless population from San Diego to San Francisco leaves state officials scrambling for solutions; however, nothing seems to work. According to the Los Angeles Times, billions of tax dollars has been directed to quell homeless population, but bureaucracy seems to be a serious issues.

The shelter to permanent housing pipeline has drastically slowed down as agencies attempt to balance the growing population without housing with those already enrolled in the system. Last year, L.A. County Supervisors postponed a bill that would cut tax revenue to homeless initiatives because the county falls short in generating tax dollars to pay for it.

KTLA reported that in Los Angeles alone, homelessness increased 75 percent in the last six years. The situation is so dire that homeless sleep on the City Hall lawn. Back streets of some of $700,000 homes align with tents. Changing the car-culture landscape to one that shows gross gaps of wealth, the underpass of freeways are now semi-permanent campsites.  Now, city officials place mobile toilets and washing stations to battle the growing hepatitis A outbreaks.

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