Los Angeles officials are "stunned" by a report that shows homelessness has increased by a large percentage even after the beleaguered city spent millions to try to alleviate the epidemic.
"Last year's count, we felt we were trimming in a way that would suggest we were getting our arms around this," said Los Angeles Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said to the Los Angeles Times.
"And yet this year we are pretty well stunned by this data," he added.
The new count of homeless people puts the number at 59,000 in Los Angeles County, and 36,000 in the city of Los Angeles — that represents an increase year-over-year of a whopping 16 percent.
Officials were encouraged by the report last year which showed a small decrease in the population of homeless people. That hope has been dashed to the rocks by the current year's statistics.
"At this point of unprecedented wealth in the county of Los Angeles, we are equally confronted with unprecedented poverty manifesting itself in the form of homelessness," said Ridley-Thomas."
Los Angeles Mayor Gil Garcetti, a Democrat, called the situation "heartbreaking."
"This work has never been for the faint of heart, and we cannot let a set of difficult numbers discourage us, or weaken our resolve," Garcetti said to the Times.
The city has been beset by reports of mountains of rotting garbage infested with disease-ridden rodents, and an overwhelming presence of homeless people stretching the social safety net to its limits.
Another report documented how some police officers were so disgusted with the filthy conditions of the LAPD downtown station that they were planning to revolt.
Ridley-Thomes rejected criticism that new homeless programs had failed, and said that they simply needed to "stay the course."
Here's the latest in Los Angeles' troubles:
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