Without a Home

Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez roams greater L.A. with Times photographer Francine Orr and videographer Albert Lee and describes a scene of despair among the homeless.

They're part of the Los Angeles streetscape, as familiar as the swaying palm trees and idling traffic, living under freeways, alongside riverbeds and on canyon hillsides. The mentally ill, the drug addicts, the economically disadvantaged, many with their life belongings in a backpack or shopping cart. In this ongoing series, Without a Home, The Times is examining the crisis of homelessness in our region.

Many people work hard to avoid the homeless. These volunteers embrace them

Meet six people doing their best to help with Southern California’ seemingly intractable homeless crisis.

As waves of homeless descend onto trains, L.A. tries a new strategy: social workers on the subway

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.

Faced with complaints of filth and blight, L.A. cracks down on overnight RV parking. Now, the homeless are scrambling

L.A. passed a law that barred vehicle dwellers from spending the night near homes, parks and schools, but allowed them to park and sleep on other streets. Since then, lawmakers have banned RVs — the most obvious sign of vehicle dwelling — from parking overnight on hundreds of street segments.

L.A. has a long history of failure on homelessness. It needs leaders who will take responsibility

It's time to hold our leaders accountable.

'Castaways' in motor homes feel stranded on society's fringe

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.

How can a place with 58,000 homeless people continue to function?

From dirty streets to wildfires to viral outbreaks, homelessness impacts us all. There is no passing the buck.

Treating and housing the mentally ill is harder than jailing them. But it might actually work

Making jails the centerpiece of mental health treatment is a monumental betrayal of our claim to a humane and civilized society.

Don't let NIMBYs — or weak-kneed politicians — stand in the way of homeless housing

Permanent supportive housing is our best bet for getting homeless people permanently off the streets.

The homeless in L.A. are not who you think they are

High rents, few vacancies, stagnant incomes and a patchy government safety net — this is why Los Angeles is the facing an unprecedented homeless crisis.

Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis is a national disgrace

It is neither desirable nor morally acceptable to blithely tolerate a level of destitution more commonly associated with Calcutta or Sao Paolo.

L.A. considers cutting through red tape to get homeless people housed faster

Two proposals would eliminate some hurdles for permanent supportive housing projects and make it easier to temporarily convert motels into homeless housing. But some critics say the supportive housing measure goes too far, depriving residents of a chance to voice concerns about projects.

A plan to house L.A.'s homeless residents could transform parking lots across the city

A plan to make city property available for homeless housing projects is now focused almost entirely on about 120 public parking lots, most acquired by the city in the 1950s and 1960s to spur suburban commercial development. The conversions will require both architectural and political ingenuity.

Huge increase in arrests of homeless in L.A. — but mostly for minor offenses

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.

L.A.'s homelessness surged 75% in six years. Here's why the crisis has been decades in the making

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.