Los Angeles officials claimed they were “stunned” this week when new data showed a whopping 16% increase in the city’s homeless population in just one year; saying residents are now facing an “unprecedented” level of poverty.
“Despite an increase in spending on initiatives meant to get people off the streets, homelessness is up dramatically in Los Angeles and Los Angeles County, officials said Tuesday,” reports The Week.
“The annual count of the homeless found there are nearly 59,000 people living on the streets, in shelters, or in cars in Los Angeles County, up 12 percent from last year. More than 36,000 are in the city of Los Angeles, a 16 percent increase,” adds the website.
“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,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas told the Los Angeles Times.
“Overall, the service portion of the effort on mental health, substance use, the issue of housing, rent subsidies, those are important and we should stay the course,” he said. “Where we have to work much harder is in the area of affordable housing.”
The current rat invasion sweeping across Los Angeles extended into an unlikely place this week: City Hall. Experts are now blaming the infestation on “homeless camps” circling the public property.
“When faced with complaints earlier this year from city workers about rats infesting L.A. City Hall, most city officials said little about whether the problem was connected to several homeless camps right outside,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
“But a newly uncovered report from a pest control company hired by the city has raised fresh questions about whether officials wrongly downplayed that possibility during discussions at City Council meetings,” adds the newspaper.
According to the pest control company hired to clear city hall, workers found “poor sanitary conditions” including human waste, food, and needles throughout the property.
“The homeless are using the grated areas above the pits as their bathroom and relieving themselves,” wrote David Costa, building construction and maintenance superintendent. “This is also attracting the rats. Custodial will need to do some hazmat cleaning of the grates and the pits. There are even hypodermic needles being tossed in the pits along with human waste and other garbage.”
The invasion comes after two LAPD officers were diagnosed with Typhus and other serious diseases related to the city’s rat population.