City of stars? Homelessness soars 23% in Los Angeles

01 Jun 2017 | By Abheet Sethi

There's been a 23% increase in the number of homeless people in the wider Los Angeles (LA) County area over the past year, according to a report by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).

This brings the total number of homeless people in LA, one of America's most affluent cities, to 57,794.

Officials have described the figures as "staggering."

In context: LA is the homeless capital of America

01 Jun 2017City of stars? Homelessness soars 23% in Los Angeles

BackgroundLA dubbed the homeless capital of America

The main city of LA is home to 34,189 homeless people, a 20% increase over 2016.

LA has for long been known as the homeless capital of America.

The homelessness crisis prompted the city to set up LAHSA in 1993 to find a solution.

In 2015, officials declared a public emergency due to soaring homelessness and earmarked $100 million to tackle it.

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Efforts failingOfficial said 'homelessness growing at shocking rate'

"Homelessness in LA County has grown at a shocking rate," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn.

Hahn said despite attempts at getting "thousands of people off the street and into housing, more and more people are becoming homeless."

"It is clear that if we are going to end the homeless crisis, we need to stem the overwhelming tide of people falling into homelessness."

LA mayor says "no sugarcoating the bad news"

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said there's "no sugarcoating the bad news." He said soaring rents and high cost of living were partly at fault for soaring rents. "We can't let rents double every year," he told reporters.

ShockingLow-income households spend up to 70% income on rent

There's been a 32% increase in average rents in LA County from 2000, according to the California Housing Partnership.

During this period, average household incomes for people living on rent has decreased by 3%.

Low-income households spend nearly 70% of their income on rent which leaves little money for food and other essential needs.

DetailsHow LA plans to fight homelessness

LAHSA said the LA County should construct over 550,000 affordable rental homes for low-income households.

LA recently approved a plan to raise $1.2 billion in bonds to construct 10,000 new housing units for homeless people.

It also plans to raise around $3.5 billion over 10 years for more homelessness projects