According to last year’s homeless count in Los Angeles, there was a 64 percent increase in the number of 18- to 24-year-olds on the streets, which total almost 6,000. However, experts believe that the rise is largely due to the fact that authorities got better at counting. Bill Bedrossian, the CEO of Covenant House California, a nonprofit specifically serving homeless 18- to 24-year olds, claims the count “is the number we’ve been saying for the last five to six years.” Bedrossian believes that homeless people in this age group are frequently hidden from plain sight and they often stay with friends or keep odd hours, rather than sleeping on sidewalks or in shelters. With that in mind, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority took that into account and surveyed young people about where to find their peers before the annual count last year.
Bedrossian says that Covenant House California has seen more young men and women seeking help in recent years. However, it is difficult to quantify exactly how many more have been seeking help and unfortunately, about half of the people that seek help at the nonprofit are former foster kids. Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl stated that the city and county have adopted several new measures aimed at stopping former foster youth from slipping through the cracks after turning 18, including more temporary shelters for young people and help for colleges to identify and track homeless students. The homeless count this year has already concluded and we will have wait and see what the results were for the city and county.