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Number of homeless people increase in San Gabriel Valley

During Alhambra's 2018 homeless count, volunteer Kevin Shaw of South Pasadena searched Alhambra Park to provide an accurate count of homeless individuals in Alhambra. In 2017, Alhambra counted 89 homeless people within city limits. Photo by David Muñoz.

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Alhambra , CA United States

Homelessness decreased overall in Los Angeles County, but rose by 5 percent in the San Gabriel Valley, according to results from Los Angeles County’s 2018 homeless count.

The number of homeless people living in the San Gabriel Valley rose from 4,094 in 2017 to 4,292 in 2018, said Peter Lynn, executive director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authorities, at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. This is compared to a 3 percent drop in homelessness in the county overall, from 55,048 to 53,195 people over the same period of time. The city of Los Angeles’ homeless population also decreased by 5 percent in 2018.

Instrumental to the overall decrease were successful reductions in the number of homeless veterans and chronically homeless people, by 18 and 16 percent respectively, said Lynn. Youth homeless housing placements increased b 43 percent.

This reduction was tempered by a countywide increase in newly homeless people, from 8,044 in 2017 to 9,322 in 2018. Lynn cited the county’s affordable housing crisis, as well as other economic reasons like loss of employment and other financial reasons as a key factor.

“We have one of the least affordable housing markets in America, and that’s something we have to address,” said Lynn, adding that the county needs to be build more than 500,000 affordable units in order to keep pace with low-income residents who are struggling to afford housing.

Yet the news about homelessness in L.A. County was mostly good, with LAHSA recording a decrease in homelessness for the first time in four years. Officials cited the generation of funding through ballot measures like Measure HHH and Measure H as a main reason for this decrease, with cities able to offer more homeless services, as well as housing options.

“Our strategic investments are beginning to pay off and the strengthening of the coordinated entry system, which is pulling more people into housing than ever before, is one of the keys to that,” said Lynn.

Numbers for specific LA County cities like Alhambra will be released later in the summer. Last year’s count saw 89 homeless people living in Alhambra. The city contracted with Union Station Homeless Services to provide outreach and permanent housing to this population. Alhambra is currently applying for Measure H funding to increase their outreach capabilities.

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