AP PHOTOS: Chronically homeless seek refuge on LA’s Skid Row

  • AP Photo/Jae C. Hong D.

    J. Meek, a 40-year-old homeless drug addict, smokes crystal meth Friday, Sept. 8, in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. Meeks’ veins are collapsed due to chronic use of heroin. He said talking to himself makes him unemployable. 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.

  • AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

    A homeless man wobbles back and forth tearing a cardboard box into pieces Tuesday, Nov. 7 in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles.

  • AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

    A homeless drug addict twists his body while sitting on a sidewalk Saturday, Oct. 28, in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles.

  • AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

    Two homeless drug addicts inject themselves with heroin in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles Monday, Nov. 6. The man on the right, who has been doing drugs everyday since January, said it was a nightmare trying to quit. “If we could stop, we would, you know. But you get sick.” the addict said. “I have a daughter now in Alabama. I just had a granddaughter I may never see.”

  • AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

    Homeless drug addict Andrew Hudson, 33, reacts as he injects himself with heroin next to an angel statue Wednesday, Nov. 8, in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. “It’s miserable quitting, or trying - trying anything,” said Hudson.

  • AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

    A homeless drug addict, who said his name is Barbie, smokes crystal meth in his tent Saturday, Nov. 4, in downtown Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES — The Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles is home to thousands of chronically homeless people.

Everyone has a different story about how they ended up in this center of abject poverty, where drugs rule the streets night and day.

“It’s miserable quitting, or trying — trying anything,” 33-year-old Andrew Hudson said recently while using heroin on Skid Row.

America’s homeless population increased this year 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.

According to the latest nationwide count, four of every 10 people who are homeless in the U.S. have a serious drug addiction or are severely mentally ill.

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