Homelessness kills

Homelessness Kills in Los Angeles

In News by Ileana Wachtel

Homeless deaths in L.A. are skyrocketing, even as the official homeless count for 2018 showed the total homeless population dropped — a claim that has been strongly challenged by Coalition to Preserve LA.

According to the L.A. County Coroner, 917 people died homeless in the limited number of homeless death cases which required the coroner to step in. That’s way up from 2017.

Thousands of homeless actually died, not just 917. But L.A. officials don’t keep track of the dead — and are under pressure from the Coalition and many others to do so.

Will Nicholas, director of the L.A. County Center for Health Impact Evaluation, is trying to match extensive info from county death certificates with the limited cases overseen by the coroner to determine how many are dying, and why deaths are spiking, according to LA Progressive.

Nicholas said older people are a growing homeless segment, which could be a factor.

Jill Stewart, executive director of Coalition to Preserve LA, said, “The specter of elderly homeless shoved out of their homes by City of Los Angeles-sponsored gentrification may explain the escalating death rate. It’s disgusting that we in L.A., obsessed with gleaming luxury towers, are turning our struggling folks into the streets.”

According to LA Progressive, “California’s homeless crisis has been fueled by gentrification and an affordable housing shortage.”A new gentrification study by Joel Kotkin and Marshall Toplansky confirms the view that developer speculation, fueled by the City of Los Angeles, is behind the affordability shortage.

“We’re fed up with L.A. leaders touting trickle-down economics, failing to build a single unit of homeless housing since we approved Measure HHH in 2016 — and then bragging on camera about opening up 45 homeless beds downtown,” said Stewart.

On New Year’s Eve, the Coalition held a vigil with religious leaders and advocacy groups at First Unitarian Church in Koreatown, where the audience read aloud the names of the 830 homeless deaths known to the coroner at that time. This honoring of the dead was covered by LA Taco, KNX and La Opinion and we thank them.

Photo credit: Transformer18