Shelters, missions overwhelmed by homeless demand – 89.3 KPCC

Southern California Public Radio interviewed Union Rescue Mission’s CEO Andy Bales regarding the increase in individuals who are homeless.

Los Angeles County’s homeless authority says on any given night 73,000 people are sleeping on the street. More than 10,000 are children or teens.

And it’s getting worse thanks to the slowing economy and big job losses. Union Rescue Mission President Andy Bales says the number of people visiting his shelters is up three fold over this time last year. He says it reminds him of the 1930s.

Andy Bales: “During the depression, the Union Rescue Mission provided 42 percent of the meals that were provided to the city of L.A. and somehow made it through. We’re trying to live up to heritage.”

Bales says it’s not easy. Demand for his nonprofit’s winter shelters is up sharply, while cash and food donations are shrinking.

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