California's homelessness crisis is prevalent in the city of Los Angeles, as tens of thousands of residents struggle to hold down a permanent residence while grappling with the fallout from substance abuse.
The last survey on the city's homeless population took place in 2019 and showed a total of 36,165 people without a consistent living situation. That represents a 16 percent increase since the 2018 count, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority.
Of the 36,165 individuals without a place to live, 8,944 were in shelters, while 27,221 were unsheltered. Los Angeles remains the least affordable housing market in the United States, LASHA reported, which can cancel out efforts to house the indigent and mentally ill.
In 2019, the number of homeless citizens living in cars, vans and RVs increased, along with the number of vagrants living in tents or makeshift setups.
There was a slight 3 percent uptick in the homeless population due to substance abuse, after the total jumped to 4,888, since 2018. Mental illness also played a role in the increased homelessness rate with a total of 8,785 people living on the streets or in shelters because of psychological issues -- a 12 percent increase from the previous year.
Developmentally disabled individuals also experienced a dramatic shift in their homelessness rates, with a total of 2,134 of them living on the streets and 945 of them in shelters of some kind. This is a 75 percent jump since 2018.
In October, The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a report, that between 2013 and 2018, the number of deaths of homeless people doubled from 536 to 1,047. The overall death rate, which takes into account increases in the total homeless population in the area, was up by over a third in that same period.
Drug and alcohol overdose was the largest contributor to the overall increase in the homeless death rate, accounting for 27 percent of the deaths between 2016 and 2018. The overdose death rate for homeless individuals was 26 times higher than among the general population.
In January, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat, unveiled part of a housing development built to accommodate homeless residents, but instead of having three facilities open in 2019 as planned, there was only one.
City voters had approved a $1.2 billion housing bond for the project back in 2016, but three years later only 46 housing units have reportedly been built for homeless citizens -- each carrying a price tag of $549,000 to build.
Earlier this month, The Los Angeles Times also weighed in on the homeless debate and supported relocating dozens of homeless residents who've been living in cars and RVs parked along Malibu’s coastline for weeks and months at a time.
The beach parking spots along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu are open to the public, but the paper asked if it was logical to allow cars to stay in the same spot for such a long period of time while being left unchecked.
“These parking restrictions seem reasonable,” the board wrote. “Homeless people have as much right to access parking along the coast as anyone else. But they don’t have the right to commandeer sought-after parking spots along the coast for weeks or months — any more than other visitors in cars have the right to hog parking spot [or] to pollute the coast.”
Fox News' Travis Fedschun, Brie Stimson and Matt London contributed to this report