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Homeless count rises in Phoenix

Report shows decline in LA
Posted: 6:01 PM, Dec 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-17 20:01:10-05
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A new federal report offers a possible glimmer of hope for the homeless crisis that has gripped many cities up and down the West Coast.

The number of people living on the streets in Los Angeles and San Diego, two epicenters of the homelessness crisis, fell this year.

The head of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority says the city's decline in homelessness this year is due to ramped up funding to help house the homeless.

But in the Los Angeles area, the count declined by about 3 percent after years of rising. Homeless Services Authority Executive Director Peter Lynn says that reflects efforts after county voters approved a tax increase in 2017 to fund homeless services.

Meanwhile, the picture was not so rosy in the Phoenix area, where the homeless count was up by 12 percent from the year before.

Officials in Maricopa County, the nation's fastest-growing, say rapidly rising housing costs were the main driver of the increase in homelessness.

Cities in California, Oregon and Washington have driven an overall spike in the number of homeless people nationwide in recent years.

This year's point-in-time count was released Monday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and shows that trend continuing. It showed 552,800 people without homes across the country, up by about 2,000 from 2017.