16,000 L.A. County Residents Live in Cars

Discussions about housing and homelessness usually focus on the number of people living on public streets. But many Californians are also sleeping in cars, a growing phenomenon that presents its own challenges.

L.A. County is the nexus of this trend. More than 16,000 people in L.A. County — or nearly a quarter of the county’s homeless population — reside in cars, trucks or RVs. That’s according to new figures released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

It’s an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous lifestyle. It can also run afoul of local laws.

“These people … have somewhere to be during the day and are productive members of society,” Safe Parking LA program coordinator Uyeda-Kantrim told CNN Wire. “You are probably sitting next to them very often without even knowing it. They just are really struggling to get back into an apartment.”

The profile of car and street dwellers may differ, but both need to be addressed as part of any meaningful response to the state’s homeless crisis.

The new HUD numbers revealed a 2.7% increase in homelessness nationwide. It was led by a continuing uptick in California. 


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