How America Counts Its Homeless, and Why Many Are Overlooked

How America Counts Its Homeless, and Why Many Are Overlooked
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File

In the first piece of a series, the Guardian examines the challenges that the U.S. faces in dealing with homelessness, particularly in western states, although the national rate of homelessness has gradually declined. Counting the homeless is a continuing problem.

From The Guardian:

The 4,000-square-mile count that covers most of LA County is the nation's largest. It includes one of the most concentrated communities of unsheltered homeless people in the country: Skid Row.

During this year's count, Skid Row volunteers were forced to walk in the middle of the road as the sidewalks were blocked by jumbles of tents and lean-tos. People lay prone in sleeping bags, with cardboard boxes over their heads for a modicum of privacy. 

“Four! Five! Six!” announced one of the counters, the numbers mounting almost without cease.

A barefoot woman in a bathrobe was bent over and scraping at the ground under a lamppost with her walking stick. A grizzled man almost ran into the volunteers and trilled “uh oh”.

“You'll see a whole lot of that,” said Lydell Londo, a formerly homeless man who struggled with a drug addiction and lived on Skid Row for about a year and a half and had joined the counters. “A whole lot of craziness.”

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