LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A man living on the streets was found dead outside City Hall in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday morning.
Police said a call came in around 7:40 a.m. about the victim, who was discovered outside City Hall East in the 200 block of North Main Street.READ MORE: Funeral Service Held In Covina Hills For Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, Among The 13 Killed In Aug. 26 Bombing Attack In Kabul
Homeless advocates and city leaders said this latest death highlights the severity of the city’s homelessness crisis.
“This gentleman passed away sleeping on a piece of cardboard and had one sheet on a cold night last night,” Andy Bales, CEO of Union Rescue Mission, said. “I don’t know what caused his death, but certainly cold added to it.”
Bales said that there are more than 44,000 homeless people in Los Angeles County, and on any given night three or four people will die while living on the streets.
There was no immediate confirmation on a cause of death, but Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer — whose office is located in the same building — said at a news conference that the man appeared to have died from natural causes.
“He was someone’s son,” Feuer said. “He might’ve been somebody’s dad or brother.”READ MORE: Acura Grand Prix Of Long Beach Returned This Weekend After Pandemic Forced Cancellation Of Last Year's Events
The man’s identity was not immediately available, and Feuer said it was unclear if he had any relatives.
“It’s heart-wrenching,” Bales said. “What are we gonna do?”
Just this year alone, 963 people have died while living on the streets. Last year it was more than 1,000. And Bales said it all comes down to a lack of housing, something the city and county have been working to fix.
“What more do we need before we finally have the action, not just to join with what we are doing locally — heroic work that’s doubled the people being housed,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “Sacramento is starting to step up, but we need them more, and Washington is missing in action. We can’t just weaponize this.”Ronnie Andrew Garcia, 43, Identified As Man Shot And Killed By Huntington Beach Police Saturday
Feuer added the scope of the crisis “really hits home when one of those human beings passes away in front of our workplace, especially when that workplace is the center of government for the second-largest city in the United States.”