Los Angeles County now knows where the Homeless Sleeps
In July, data was released by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) after the agency announced that homelessness across the county had grown to almost 50,000 people, a 23 percent increase this year compared to last year. The data was provided by a count conducted in January by more than 7,000 volunteers across every census tract in the county, which includes around 210 communities. A look at some communities show that in 2016, many people slept on the streets, but that trend shifted this year and more people were found to be living in their RVs, vans and cars. The highest concentration of homeless people was reported in skid row, where there are 4,485 homeless people, which is an increase of almost 1,000 more people than in 2016. Clementina Verjan, LAHSA’s associate policy and planning director, as well as the coordinator of the homeless count, stated:
The number of people living in vehicles really increased. People tend to stay in their vehicles as a last resort before they end up in an encampment on the street.
Upscale neighborhoods such as Bel-Air, Beverly Hills, and Malibu all saw increases in homelessness, most of who sleep in vehicles. San Marino, unincorporated Avalon, and Calabasas/Hidden Hills were among those that reported no homeless people. Verjan noted that when someone becomes homeless and needs housing or shelter fast, the only option to send them outside of the Los Angeles area, such as the Antelope Valley or to places in the county that have concentrations of services, such as downtown Los Angeles, even if they prefer to stay in their own community to be near their job or to allow their children to attend the same schools. According to data provided by LAHSA earlier this year, a tight housing market, high rental costs and more women and youths escaping violent domestic situations contributed to the overall 23 percent spike in homelessness this year. The Los Angeles County voter approved Measure H, a quarter-cent sales tax to raise an estimated $355 million a year for 10 years to help homeless people transition into planned affordable housing, is set to begin on October 1st.