Los Angeles

Headcount to Reveal How Many Homeless Vets Are Still on LA's Streets

Every two years, thousands of volunteers fan out across Los Angeles to count the county's homeless population. This year they have an extra goal, and this one comes from Washington, D.C.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama said last year that they want to end veterans homelessness in the U.S. by the end of 2015, getting U.S. cities to sign off on t

Figures show housing is being found for 437 homeless veterans every month, but that will have to increase to meet the President's goal.

"Certainly one of the issues we have to face is making sure there is enough housing stock available," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald, in Los Angeles to take part in the homeless count.

Among the homeless in LA County, as many as 4,000 veterans will be counted by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority -- a significant drop in four years from more than 7,000, but still a long ways from finding housing for all veterans by years end.

That will require a placement rate of more than 500 veterans each month, according to LA's public-private partnership for ending veteran homelessness. The group is relying on placing the homeless in subsidized apartments to meet the goal of ending veterans homelessness this year.

On Thursday morning, McDonald visited the Rosslyn, a once derelict but now newly refurbished hotel with 264 apartments now occupied by the formerly homeless, 119 of them veterans, including Marcus Hunter, a Navy Veteran now a year clean and sober for a year.

Hunter said he had been on the streets some two decades before he went to the VA.

"That very first day they found me housing, I was really surprised," he said.

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