Top urban news, trends and reports curated for the world’s city leaders. Edited by David Hatch

Homelessness surges in L.A. amid prosperity

Los Angeles lacks the vast network of shelters available elsewhere, forcing the homeless to live on sidewalks or in cars or tents. (Breezy Baldwin/flickr/cc)

Los Angeles abounds with signs of a booming economy, from construction cranes to swanky new restaurants to a dip in the unemployment rate. Despite the prosperity, homelessness has spiked in the city, Adam Nagourney writes for the New York Times.

The homeless population, estimated at 44,359, increased 12 percent in two years. Those figures affirm “Los Angeles’s reputation of having the most intractable homeless problem in the nation,” he writes. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority documents the surprising trend in a report last month on the latest census data for this vulnerable constituency.

Alice Callaghan, a homeless advocate, tells the Times that a lack of affordable housing is a key factor. As once-gritty neighborhoods gentrify, rents and other prices skyrocket, driving out the poor.  L. A., meanwhile, has fallen behind New York and other American cities in creating a large network of homeless shelters, the article says. As a result, a disproportionate amount of the city’s downtrodden live outdoors on sidewalks, or in tents or cars.

New York Times

More from Citiscope

Latest Commentary