Around Telfair Elementary School in Pacoima, many homeless children live indoors rather than outside. And for one family, motel hopping is no temporary setback. It's life.
Jose Razo is principal at Telfair Elementary School in Pacoima, the L.A. Unified campus that has more students classified as homeless than any other. For him, teaching these kids is personal, because years ago, he lived as so many of them do today.
Beyond the tree-shaded comforts of suburban living, L.A. residents by the thousands live in motels, vehicles, shelters and 400-square-foot garages. Teachers at Telfair Elementary School say families living in garages is more common now.
Schools such as Telfair Elementary in Pacoima lack resources and lag behind the district and state averages in student performance. But as educators work long hours to provide more support, students may find it harder to break free from poverty.
When people think of homelessness in Los Angeles, they think of people splayed out on the street on skid row. That exists but there's also a multitude of hidden and sometimes ingenious ways that homeless people in L.A. County create shelter for themselves.
Where do you take visitors in L.A.? Wherever you go, you’re sure to encounter the homeless. They are fixtures at almost every landmark, blending into the architecture and landscape that defines the urban expanse.
Metro has hired outreach workers who try to house the homeless who sleep on the subway. The agency says its hope is that spending $1.2 million on helping homeless people, instead of ticketing them, may make a difference in the long run.
Recreational vehicles and campers are the only homes thousands of people can afford in Los Angeles. Their presence is rarely welcome. “Sometimes I feel like we’re worse than homeless," says one.
High rents, few vacancies, stagnant incomes and a patchy government safety net — this is why Los Angeles is the facing an unprecedented homeless crisis.
Many arrests are for unpaid tickets, a Times analysis finds. Police say arrests are a necessary tool, while homeless advocates see a revolving door of debt and jail stays.
A succession of mayors have tried different fixes since homelessness emerged as a crisis in the 1980s, but if the problem continues to climb at current rates, it will swamp even the best efforts.
L.A. homeless crisis grows despite political promises, many speeches and millions of dollars. How do we fix this?
Voters have approved billions of dollars to build housing and provide services. But so far, the impact on the streets has been negligible.