MALIBU—According to newly released numbers from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s biannual homeless count, homelessness is up 3.8 percent in Malibu since 2013.  That makes a total of over 8,600 people. Homelessness is also up throughout the greater Los Angeles area, at 12 percent for both the city and the county.

Canyon News spoke with Carol Moss, an organizer with Malibu’s Community Assistance Resource Team (CART), a newly formed local organization that is trying to help the city’s homeless.  She commented, “We’ve always had a population living in the hills, in the shrubbery, hidden in plain sight. This is really old in Malibu, but that’s a different population from what we’re seeing now; a lot of people living in their cars, a lot of older women…it’s all over, and it’s gonna get a lot worse.”  She mentioned that a tolerant attitude towards homeless people is common in Malibu.

The census includes 90 percent of Los Angeles County, excluding the cities of Glendale, Pasadena, and Long Beach, which have their own homeless counts.  In 2013, LAHSA counted 75 percent of LA County, and this increase in coverage area accounts for some of the increase in numbers, but only slightly.  The county’s homeless population saw substantial growth among vulnerable groups, such as people with mental health issues, the physically disabled, and survivors of domestic violence.  Factors that have lead to the increase in homelessness include high unemployment, low wages, and rising rent in neighborhoods that historically have had a sizable homeless community, such as Venice and downtown Los Angeles.

The count was taken in January, and the numbers from the count are going to be sent to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (known as HUD), who will use the information to decide how funds for reducing homelessness will be allocated.