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‘Another Year of More People Living on the Streets,’ Homelessness Increases 10 Percent in Los Angeles

Thousands of more people live in makeshift shelters, vans, and cars than a year ago. On any given night, there are more than 75,000 people experiencing homelessness in LA County and more than 46,000 people in the City of Los Angeles, according to LAHSA.

Homelessness increased nine percent in L.A. County and 10 percent in the City of Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s (LAHSA) recently released 2023 homeless count.

Thousands of more people live in makeshift shelters, vans, and cars than a year ago. On any given night, there are more than 75,000 people experiencing homelessness in LA County and more than 46,000 people in the City of Los Angeles, according to LAHSA.

The homeless count combines the results of a January point-in-time tally of homeless individuals and tents with reports from service providers detailing how many homeless adults and youths reside in shelters. 

The “visual tally” of homelessness found more than 13,000 individuals on the streets and more than 23,000 tents and makeshift shelters. Separate from the point-in-time count, LAHSA also collected thousands of “demographic surveys” to determine how many people live in each tent or dwelling. 

This year, LAHSA made many changes to its methodology after facing questions about the accuracy of previous data.

LAHSA stressed that this year’s count is merely “a snapshot of homelessness at the regional level” during a presentation on Thursday morning at their downtown headquarters. The data does not reflect an accurate picture of homelessness on a neighborhood level, according to LAHSA.

The rise in L.A.’s homeless population coincides with increases in homelessness in other major cities across the United States, LAHSA said.

“The homeless count results tell us what we already know—that we have a crisis on our streets, and it’s getting worse,” said Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum, Chief Executive Officer of LAHSA. Adams Kellum described the results as “disappointing” but “not surprising” on Thursday morning.

“The challenge before us is vast, but we will continue to work with urgency to bring Angelenos inside,” Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement.

“These results are disappointing. It is frustrating to have more people fall into homelessness even as we are investing hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and resources into efforts to bring people inside,” Supervisors Janice Hahn said.

Key takeaways from the homeless count:

  • There was an 18 percent increase in people experiencing chronic homelessness (defined as someone who’s been homeless for more than a year and has a disabling mental or physical health condition or substance abuse disorder).
  • Homelessness in South Los Angeles decreased by more than 10 percent, according to LAHSA’s homeless count.
  • Just over 19,000 adults and more than 2,100 youth live in shelters.
  • Roughly 70 percent of unhoused people do not report having substance abuse issues. And 75 percent of people do not report having a mental health problem.
  • In L.A. County, there are roughly the same number of people living in shelters than there were a year ago.
  • Unsheltered homelessness increased by 14 percent.
  • Black people continue to be over-represented in the homeless population. Black Angelenos comprise less than 8 percent of the county and more than 30 percent of the homeless population.
  • The Latino unhoused population leveled off after experiencing a substantial increase last year.
  • There are roughly 10,000 more shelter beds in L.A. County than there were before the pandemic.

Homelessness has increased nearly every year since 2015, the L.A. Times reported, despite billions of dollars invested into solving the crisis.

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