Most nights, Jeremias Ortiz has to shoo away homeless people who sleep and panhandle outside his restaurant, El Salvadoreño in Duarte.
The men and women living in the parking lot are bad for his business, but as their ranks swell, it has become a fact of life — as has cleaning up broken glass, urine and feces.
“They don’t have a place to put [homeless people] in this area. I think it’s where all the problems start.” Local officials, Ortiz said, “are just ignoring the people’s needs.”
According to the latest point-in-time count released Tuesday, the number of homeless people in the San Gabriel Valley jumped 17% from 4,282 in 2018 to 5,021 this year — the second largest bump in Los Angeles County. The largest was on the Westside, up 19% from 4,401 homeless people in 2018 to 5,223 this year. Both outpaced the overall increase of 12% across the county.