The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority reported Wednesday that 6,000 homeless young people were tallied across the county in January, a 61% increase over the 2016 total.
The homeless services agency improved the youth count, Executive Director Peter Lynn said, which could account for part of the jump.
Heidi Calmus of Covenant House California, an international youth homeless services agency with a branch in Hollywood, said the sharp increase was no surprise.
All the youth shelters have waiting lists and affordable housing is tough to find, even with a rent voucher, Calmus said.
“The system is overwhelmed,” Calmus said Tuesday night as she and a colleague, Nick Semensky, delivered toiletry bags and sandwiches to young people living in the streets.
Most of the young people are ages 18 to 24, Lynn said. Many were released from foster care or group homes, or were set loose by their families.
They distrust authority and have no appetite for giving up the freedom of the streets for another regimented living situation, Semensky said.
Source: LA Times