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In LA, homelessness declines despite economic crisis

[ 2009-10-30 11:44]     字号 [] [] []  
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The homeless population of Los Angeles fell sharply during the past two years, a study released on Wednesday found, confounding expectations that the recession would drive more people into the city's streets and shelters.

Some credit went to better programs to keep people off the streets, but experts say the worst economic slump since the Great Depression may also have played a role as rents declined and created more affordable housing.

Others disputed that notion, asserting that recent waves of foreclosures invariably drive more people into homelessness.

According to the latest census performed every two years by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, an estimated 43,000 people are living on the streets, in cars, in abandoned buildings or in government-funded "transitional housing" facilities on any given night in greater Los Angeles.

That count, conducted over three days in January, is down 38 percent from the 2007 tally but remains the largest homeless population of any metropolitan area in the United States, said Michael Arnold, executive director of the Homeless Services Authority.

The number and proportion of the homeless who are living on the streets was down, too, from 83 percent to about two-thirds of the total, while the number of families with children included in the tally also dropped substantially.

Arnold said the numbers reflect stepped-up local efforts to fight homelessness, including a $100 million initiative undertaken by Los Angeles County and a recent expansion of rental vouchers aimed at homeless families.

Still, Los Angeles, the second-largest US city and home to a notorious downtown Skid Row, appears to be bucking a national trend.


1.What might be one reason the number of homeless people has declined in Los Angeles?

2. How many homeless people are estimated to be living in Los Angeles on any given night?

3. Since 2007 how much has the percentage of homeless people in Los Angeles declined?


1. Rent has declined and created more affordable housing.

2. 43,000.

3. 38 percent.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

In LA, homelessness declines despite economic crisis

About the broadcaster:

In LA, homelessness declines despite economic crisis

Chantal Anderson is a multimedia journalist at the China Daily Web site. Originally from Seattle, Washington she has found her way around the world doing photo essays in Greece, Mexico and Thailand. She is currently completing a double degree in Journalism and International Studies from the University of Washington.