Homelessness is a big and longstanding problem in Los Angeles. And it's getting worse. 

In 2017, according to the latest numbers from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, there were nearly 58,000 men, women and children in Los Angeles County who lacked "a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence." That's an increase of more than 23 percent just from 2016.

David Blumenkrantz, a journalism professor at California State University, Northridge, has been documenting stories of the homeless ever since he was an undergraduate at CSUN in the mid 80s and interning at the Los Angeles Daily News.

"There was very little homelessness then, but I met a guy who was sleeping at a bus stop," remembers Blumenkrantz. "We talked and I took some photographs. I knew I liked being able to express myself visually through photography, but I found it even more gratifying to shoot social issues. I wanted to be able to say something with my camera."

He would go on to live in Africa for eight years, working as a photojournalist, and later with NGOs on projects related to street children and urban poverty. Back home, Blumenkrantz earned two master's degrees at CSUN, then joined the faculty of the journalism department in 2004.

In 2016, with the support of a Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (RSCA) grant from CSUN, Blumenkrantz began conducting interview and portrait sessions with homeless men and women he met through several organizations, including MEND Poverty in Pacoima, North Valley Caring Services in North Hills, and North Hollywood's St. Charles Borromeo Church. He shot some of his subjects on the street with his   iPhone; others were photographed in a studio.

The project, which Blumenkrantz calls "One of Us," grew to include portraits of more than 40 men and women. You can view many of the images and listen to audio interviews on Professor Blumenkrantz's website. His ongoing documentation of homelessness and news of upcoming shows can be found on his blog. A show featuring Blumenkrantz work is scheduled to open on May 24 at the Museum of Social Justice and run through October 28, 2018.

Here, he shares some of his favorite photographs and excerpts from his recorded conversations with the participants. 

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All photos courtesy of David Blumenkrantz