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audio, stills, text and or video: Go to zReportage.com to see more - According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the homeless population of Los Angeles and L.A. County has increased as much as 20% in the last year, and leads the nation in homeless unsheltered living, at nearly 70%. Homelessness here has grown substantially since the last El Nino, which dumped 30 inches of rain on Los Angeles during the winter of 1997-98, authorities say. Recently, the Los Angeles City Council declared a state of emergency on homelessness and called for $100 million to help address the growing crisis. The Los Angeles River flows through Los Angeles County, from Canoga Park in the western end of the San Fernando Valley, nearly 48 miles southeast to its mouth in Long Beach. Homeless people live along much of its length, with many located generally east of Downtown L.A., making their homes in and around the river, under overpasses or alongside rail lines and industrial wastelands. Those people - many dealing with disability, mental health and criminal justice issues - living in tents, improvised shelters and live-in vehicles, have increased 85% in the same period. Causes include high unemployment, low wages and escalating rents, coupled with gentrification and elimination of SRO hotels and cheap rooms, a last option for many. An estimated 800 people live in LA's riverbeds and storm drains, which will be deluged with powerful torrents when El Nino storms arrive in early 2016. Although the Sheriff's Department and LA's Homeless Services Authority have made numerous visits to warn residents, many see no compelling reason - or options - for moving. Most are not the transient homeless we are used to seeing but have set up semi-permanent living quarters in the LA River, which with its sweeping concrete vistas and city skyline sunsets may soon become both a beautiful and dangerous place to call home.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
May 26, 2013 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - An unidentified man bathes and shaves in the L.A. River on a Sunday morning. Although the water is mostly clear, foul smelling sludge drains into the river at frequent intervals.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Oct 3, 2013 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - A view upriver from under 7th Street, with the spans of 6th, 4th and 1st Street Bridges over the L.A. River in sight.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Oct 4, 2014 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - CECILIA and IRMA have breakfast outside her trailer along the L.A. River.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Nov 11, 2014 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - One of many junk cars in the lots and yards of the surrounding area.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Oct 4, 2014 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - Left tethered to his owner's bed and meager possessions with a piece of rope, a pit bull lunges at any unfamiliar person that comes close - a popular sort of 'home security' in L.A. River encampments.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Nov 15, 2013 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - The view from a brush-covered hill as the 6th Street Bridge stretches toward the Los Angeles skyline, over the Hollywood Freeway and the Los Angeles River.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Nov 20, 2013 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - LESHAWN holds her cat outside her home in a defunct tunnel along the L.A. River. She was burned out shortly after by kids photographing each other spinning flaming steel wool in her camp while she was away.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Jul 5, 2013 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - An International Transtar 4300 serves as a temporary home on a side street along the L.A. River.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Jul 22, 2015 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - The Los Angeles River due east of downtown Los Angeles, where GABRIEL, a homeless man who camps on the river's concrete floor and the surrounding streets, bathes midstream.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Nov 15, 2015 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - The morning sun rises over a convergence of Amtrak, Metrolink and freight lines crossing the Los Angeles River, past a large homeless encampment's pile of shopping carts.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Jul 28, 2013 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - ANTHONY rubs lotion on his feet before getting up to walk into Skid row, hoping to find a meal and work.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Oct 31, 2014 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - The Gifts of the Magi. Fruit rots in the sun at one of many produce packing and shipping companies along the L.A. River and throughout Downtown L.A.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Aug 27, 2013 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - EUGENE greets the morning just off 6th Street, along the 10 freeway south through downtown Los Angeles. This pose is one that was immortalized in a mural at 6th and Crocker in skid row, a mile or so west of his campsite.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Dec 14, 2014 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - The L.A. skyline sits in the distance beyond the Los Angeles River, as viewed from Soto Street in Vernon. As the river crosses from Los Angeles to Vernon, the homeless population decreases due to aggressive policing.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Jan 25, 2015 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - A truck unloads frozen food at Manny's Cold Storage, E. Los Angeles, under the 6th Street bridge, a few weeks before the area was cleared to make way for the bridge's imminent destruction and rebuild.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Aug 22, 2015 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - RAOUL, with his dogs Domenico and Frosty, as well as three children, lives in a camper along the Los Angeles River.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Mar 11, 2015 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - Tucked away in a concrete sanctum under the 1st Street Bridge along the Los Angeles River, SERAPHINO transcribes passages in spanish and english from the bible onto paper, boards, doors and walls. He doesn't, however, speak or read English.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Mar 11, 2015 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - SERAPHINO displays more pages of the scripture passages he transcribes in Spanish and English from the bible onto paper, boards, doors and walls. His living space is to the rear of the concrete sanctum under the 1st Street Bridge that he calls home.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Mar 20, 2015 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - A homeless encampment along the Hollywood Freeway, against a Los Angeles cityscape that includes city hall.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Apr 22, 2015 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - Metrolink and Amtrak lines roll over several encampments along the L.A. River at Washington Street.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Nov 21, 2015 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - One of several people living under the rails at Washington Street and the L.A. River.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Jun 12, 2015 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - A grass island from greener parts upriver makes it's way downstream on the bare concrete edges and minimal water of the Los Angeles River. The Cesar Chavez Avenue bridge crosses in the distance.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Jun 23, 2014 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - CECILIA sits outside her trailer under the 1st Street bridge, at a table of provisions, along the L.A. River
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Feb 21, 2015 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - A movable home with rolling guest house in tow takes up residence on Mission Street, East L.A. and surrounding neighborhoods along the L.A. River.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Jun 23, 2014 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - IGNACIO stands outside the enclosure of wood and cardboard he calls home, with his cart typically laden with everything he needs for a day of work and foraging.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
Apr 30, 2015 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - A view of the Los Angeles skyline from East L.A., near the city of Vernon. This street quickly filled with characters. The woman at right was the first to arrive, alternately singing, dancing, crying and swinging a 10' length of cable.
© Fred Hoerr/zReportage.com/ZUMA Press
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