Homelessness Soars in Los Angeles: 9% Increase Countywide and 10% in City

The most recent count results, released today, show a 9% year-over-year increase in homelessness in the county, and a 10% jump in the city, despite significant investments in housing and intervention programs and Mayor Karen Bass making the issue a centerpiece of her administration.

The January point-in-time count revealed a countywide homeless population of 75,518 and a citywide homeless population of 46,260 in Los Angeles. That’s an increase from last year’s totals of 69,144 in the county and 41,980 in the city.

For a more long-term perspective, in 2019, there were 56,000 people in the county who were living in shelters or on the streets. That’s a staggering increase of 35% in only the last four years among the homeless population.

“These results are disappointing,” Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Hahn said in a statement.

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“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. I appreciate the cities that have stepped up and supported solutions, but these numbers prove that solutions-oriented cities are too few and far between.”

“I hold out hope that the new partnership between the county and city of Los Angeles will make a difference and help us more effectively address this crisis. 2023 needs to be a watershed year for us where we turn these trends around.”

During her campaign, Bass said she would “house 15,000 people by the end of year one” in office. More than 14,000, she added earlier this month, had been brought inside. Bass requested that the city allocate $1.3 billion in 2024 to fix the issue back in April.

Homelessness Soars in Los Angeles (1)

The count took place on January 24-26, all around the county, and was organized by the Los Angeles Homeless Services organization, a joint powers organization coordinated by the city and county of Los Angeles.

The volunteers in each census tract worked in teams of four to tally the number of people sleeping outside, as well as the number of tents, cars, and other makeshift dwellings. In January, LAHSA officials warned that the closure of federal temporary pandemic assistance programs could increase housing insecurity while simultaneously reducing the resources available to re-housing networks.

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Previously, LAHSA officials claimed that make-up count teams would be deployed for the 2023 count to ensure that every census tract is counted, and that tracts without data would be disregarded.

A new counting software was implemented, a demographer and two data scientists were hired, volunteer training was streamlined, and new accountability mechanisms were implemented by the agency to increase the accuracy of this year’s census.

In 2016, the county initiated the yearly count to better understand homelessness in the area and to use as a guide for allocating resources for homeless services.

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