For Immediate Release:
May 28, 2019
As Los Angeles prepares to release its official 2019 homeless count this Friday (May 31), AHF today unveils its newest Los Angeles area billboard advocacy campaign on housing and the homeless featuring two stark messages: ‘Homelessness Kills’ and ‘Gentrification Sucks.’
There were 3,612 deaths of homeless people in L.A. County from 2014 to 2018—a 76% increase over the past five years. And despite government spending of over $619 million on the homeless crisis in the region over the past year, the 2019 Los Angeles area homeless count is expected to rise. In 2018, there were 53,195 homeless men, women and children in Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES (May 28, 2019) As Los Angeles officials prepare to release the formal 2019 homeless count this Friday (May 31), AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today unveiled its newest Los Angeles area billboard advocacy campaign
which puts the spotlight on the burgeoning homeless and housing crisis in Los Angeles. The new campaign, posted this week on over 30 billboards throughout greater Los Angeles (with 100 bus bench placements soon to follow), features two stark messages: ‘Homelessness Kills’ and ‘Gentrification Sucks.’
The first billboard features the headline ‘Homelessness Kills’ placed over a close-up image of the toe-tagged feet of an individual lying dead on a morgue table; the second includes the headline ‘Gentrification Sucks’ over an urban city view of Los Angeles. The only additional text on both of the billboards is the web address for ‘LAScandal.org’ (rendered in the style of the ubiquitous green Caltrans freeway signs posted throughout the state), a website where people can get information on the homeless crisis, learn about the sclerotic response from government and elected officials and find links to directly contact their L.A. City Council Member or L.A. County Supervisor to urge them to act more quickly and decisively to address the homeless and affordable housing crisis.
“For too many of our fellow Angelenos, homelessness has become a matter of life and death—our homeless death rate in Los Angeles is now nearly twice the homicide rate,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AHF. “Given that L.A. officials spent over $619 million on homeless services over the past year in the region, this is a national disgrace. Despite those millions of dollars, homeless people are literally dying on our streets. These billboards serve to remind the public both of some causes and consequences of homelessness—and to shame our public officials into meaningful and more timely action on the twin crises of homelessness and gentrification.”
According to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner records, 918 homeless people died in 2018. In 2017, there were 806 deaths among the homeless. The coroner’s office reported a total of 3,612 deaths of homeless people in L.A. County from 2014 to 2018—a 76% increase over those past five years (Kaiser Health News via US News & World Report, April 23, 2019).
Last week, the Los Angeles City Council passed a record $10.6 billion budget that includes $457 million earmarked for homeless programs. More than half of that funding will come from the Measure HHH bond, the well-intentioned 2016 L.A, City ballot measure authorizing $1.2 billion in bonds to pay for the construction of 10,000 units of housing for homeless people and that passed with 76% of the vote. Measure HHH funding has yet to house a single homeless individual.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “Los Angeles will release numbers from its homeless population count on May 31 (2109), and officials are expecting the number to rise even though the region spent $619 million last year on the problem.” The newspaper separately and previously reported that “The 2018 count stated there were 53,195 homeless people in Los Angeles County.”
Snapshot of The Homeless Crisis: Los Angeles 2016-2019
- The official 2019 homeless count in Los Angeles County—to be released FRIDAY, May 31st—is widely expected to increase.
- The official 2018 homeless count in Los Angeles County was 53,195, a slight dip from 2017.
- The 2017 homeless count in Los Angeles County was nearly 58,000 (57,794), a 23% INCREASE from 2016.
- That sharp rise, to nearly 58,000, suggested that the pathway into homelessness continues to outpace intensifying efforts that — through rent subsidies, new construction, outreach and support services — got more than 14,000 people permanently off the streets last year. (Los Angeles Times, 5/31/17)
- Homelessness also increased sharply in the City of Los Angeles in 2017, where the count of just over 34,000 was UP 20% from 2016. (A. Times 5/31/17)
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.1 million individuals in 43 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us @aidshealthcare.