The Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles is home to thousands of chronically homeless people. Poverty, despair and drugs are endemic.
The U.S. homeless population increased in 2017 for the first time since 2010, driven by a surge in the number of people living on the streets in Los Angeles and other West Coast cities, including San Diego, the San Francisco Bay Area, Portland and Seattle.
Downtown Los Angeles
A homeless drug addict, who said his name is Barbie, smokes crystal meth in his tent in downtown Los Angeles. The latest nationwide homeless count shows that 4 of every 10 people living on the street are severely mentally ill or have a serious drug addiction.
Seattle native Robert Irwin, 72, who has been homeless for seven months, walks between rows of tents at Camp Second Chance, a city-sanctioned homeless encampment, on Sept. 26, 2017. Irwin said he is planning a trip to Michigan to see his older sister.
"I have my own SUV, Chevy Trailblazer," he said. "I want to go in March. It will be my last trip."
Andrew Loy begs along a sidewalk in downtown San Francisco on June, 28, 2016. Homelessness is on the rise in the city, which has some of the highest housing costs in the nation.
Los Angeles' Skid Row
Bearing cuts all over his face, a homeless drug addict, who said his name is April Jane, aimlessly stares into space on a sidewalk in the Skid Row area.
Battling drug addiction
D. J. Meek, a 40-year-old homeless drug addict with collapsed veins, injects heroin shortly after smoking crystal meth in downtown Los Angeles' Skid Row area, home to the nation's largest concentration of homeless people, on Sept. 8, 2017.
A woman looks over trash from an encampment for homeless people along the San Diego River in San Diego on Sept. 22, 2017.
In October 2017, California declared a statewide emergency due to a hepatitis A outbreak linked to homeless encampments like this one.
A homeless woman sets up a barricade in front of her tent near Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles on June 20, 2017. Advocates say "single women," a term referring to women on their own, often separated from spouses or children, make up the fastest growing group in the homeless population of Los Angeles.
Death on Skid Row
Los Angeles County Coroners investigator Kelli Blanchard looks around a tent where the body of 33-year-old homeless man, Andrew Withrow, was found on Sept. 11, 2017, in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles.
Cheyvonne Price, who says she is homeless primarily due to heroin addiction, naps on a sidewalk outside a Starbucks in downtown Portland on Sept. 20, 2017, after spending a night outside on the streets trying to keep dry in the rain. Price said she hoped to get enough money during the day to afford a bed at a hostel for the night and said that she wishes people would realize that the homeless "are not all bad people."
Carrying plastic bags stuffed with his belongings, a homeless man, who declined to give his name, pauses on a sidewalk on Sept. 21, 2017, in Los Angeles.
According to the annual count released in May 2017 by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the county had a homeless population of 57,794, up 23 percent from last year's count.
L.A.'s Midnight Mission
People sleep in the courtyard of the Midnight Mission in Los Angeles on Sept. 14, 2017. The mission's courtyard is open to any homeless people looking for a safe place to spend the night.
Wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat, Nathanael Baisley, 38, sits in a bus in Los Angeles en route to Santa Monica Beach to spend the night, on Oct. 28, 2017. Baisley said he has been homeless on and off for three years and is going through a divorce with his wife, who lives in England with their 5-year-old son.
Cars pass the encampment of a man who's been homeless for about two years on May 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
The 2017 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count indicates a 20 percent jump in the city of Los Angeles, while L.A. County spiked 23 percent.
A homeless man sleeps in front of his tent along Van Ness Avenue in downtown San Francisco on June, 27, 2016.
Homeless veteran Kendrick Bailey steps out of his tent on a street corner near Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles on June 20, 2017.
After dropping some 30 percent from 2015 to 2016, the population of homeless veterans living on L.A. streets increased in the official 2017 count to 4,828 from 3,071.
Los Angeles' Skid Row
A homeless man sleeps curled up on the steps of a police station in Los Angeles' Skid Row area, home to the nation's largest concentration of homeless people, on Sept. 19, 2017.
Homelessness has increased on the West Coast as soaring housing costs price more people out of the market.
The mentally disabled
A mentally disabled woman stares at a camera as a homeless drug addict, who said his name was April Jane, sits on a sidewalk asking for money in downtown Los Angeles on Nov. 2, 2017.
A man pushes his belongings in a cart on a street in Los Angeles on Nov. 10, 2017. The city has one of the nation's largest homeless populations.
Christian McKenzie, a 29-year-old heroin addict and mother of a 7-year-old boy, settles down next to a wall in the Waterfront Park area in Seattle on Sept. 28, 2017.
"I'm doing drugs still, but I'm not doing them as much. I've restrained myself all day not to," said McKenzie. "I miss my kitchen. I miss my kid."
Makeshift tents house the homeless on a street in Los Angeles, Nov. 10, 2017.
A woman holds a dog in a homeless encampment in downtown Los Angeles, April 20, 2017. The city's mayor, Eric Garcetti, is proposing $176 million to help combat the city's growing homeless crisis.
A homeless person sleeps beneath a tarp on the sidewalk in downtown Los Angeles, April 20, 2017. Los Angeles is home to one of the nation's largest homeless populations.