West Coast cities drive up US homeless population
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An increased number of homeless people living on the West Coast is driving up the U.S. homeless population, according to a new report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The report shows increasing numbers of homeless individuals residing in California, Oregon and Washington. The overall homeless population in the three Western states climbed by 14 percent over the past two years.

The number of homeless individuals living in Los Angeles County, for example, grew from 13,000 in 2016 to 55,000 in 2017.

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The increased homeless populations have forced at least 10 county and city governments to declare states of emergency, according to The Associated Press.

The growing population has had consequences, such as an outbreak of a life-threatening strain of hepatitis, in the affected areas, the AP noted.

Advocates have pointed to the soaring cost of living the areas as a cause for the increased homeless population.